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Objects with Audio Interpretation

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The West Wind

70 1/2 x 23 x 33 1/4 in. (179.1 x 58.4 x 84.5 cm)

Thomas Ridgeway Gould
United States (Boston, MA, 1818 - 1881, Florence, Italy)

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Marble
Credit Line: Gift of the Isaac Gordon Estate through the Lincoln Rochester Trust Company
Accession Number: 1966.18
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object
Collection: The Daniel C. Powers Collection

Who was the West Wind? In Greek mythology, the West Wind was Zephyrus, one of the four wind gods. Perhaps the maker of this work, who was influenced by the mythological subjects that he saw in Italy, was describing the West Wind by showing its effect on the figure’s hair and skirt. Another interpretation suggests that the sculpture is an idealized expression of the United States’s westward expansion. It was exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia on the occasion of the nation’s hundredth birthday in 1876. The starred belt on the waistband of the figure’s clothing could refer to the stars on the American flag.

When English poet Percy Shelley wrote his Ode to the West Wind in 1820, he closed it with these immortal words:

O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

[Gallery label text, 2004]

Artist's signature, on base: The West Wind T.R. Gould. Inv. et Fecit Florence 1876.

Commissioned by Daniel W. Powers, Rochester, NY; the Isaac Gordon Estate, Rochester, NY; given to the Gallery in 1966

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Web Links See links to web pages and lesson plans
Creating, Performing, and Participating in the Arts Examines seven 19th century artworks in the Memorial Art Gallery, with questions and hands-on exercises for students.
Seeing America Inservice Materials from a teacher in-service presentation Spring 2008
Seeing America Chapter on Thomas Ridgeway Gould's The West Wind, written by Cynthia L. Culbert.
MAGexplore MAGexplore provides in-depth information and close looking at over 200 objects in MAG's collection.

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