Inside of Victory
August 12, 2013
this article by New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl. He doesn’t just like the statue of Victory leading Sherman into battle: it’s his favorite public art work in the city.
What interested me most in the article was Sherman’s attitude as a portrait subject. Do an image search for the general and you’ll see a very intense, very photogenic man. He looks like he never smiled in his life; in some shots he looks almost deranged.
For the equestrian monument, sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens had Sherman pose for nearly 40 hours. When he asked the Civil War hero if he wouldn’t mind sprucing himself up a tad, Sherman answered, “The General of the Army of the United States will wear his coat any damn way he pleases.” Lucky for us, according to Schjeldahl: the bare-knuckle grandeur that resulted was, he wrote, the artist’s “signature feat.”
The restoration of the monument was announced in the Times a couple of months ago. Today the same reporter, David Dunlap, came out with a City Room piece that includes an exclusive view inside the bronze statue.