The Wounded Indian

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Peter Stephenson
The Wounded Indian, 1848–50

Peter Stephenson's heroic representation of a mortally wounded Indian ranks among the most beautiful and affecting works of nineteenth-century American marble sculpture. It directly reflects the increasing acceptance of the Indian as Noble Savage - a natural man uncorrupted by the influences of civilization.

A precocious talent, Stephenson studied in Rome in the mid-1840s and then settled in Boston. While in Italy he surely encountered a variation of the Dying Gaul, the classical sculpture that served as inspiration for the pose of the Chrysler's sculpture. Stephenson exhibited The Wounded Indian at the 1851 Crystal Palace exhibition in London. His brief career ended with madness and his death at age thirty-seven, and surviving works by him are very rare.