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Columbus Landing on San Salvador

Statue (no longer existing)

Mary Lawrence

Chicago /  Columbus Landing on San Salvador


Statue made for the 1893 Columbian Exposition World’s Fair.

From Columbus and Columbia in Chicago, 1893: Man of Genius Meets Generic Woman":

On the Court of Honor, the admiral's orchestrating presence behind the 'barge of state' was made materially manifest by Saint-Gaudens's sculptural program, for directly behind the Columbia Fountain-on the pavement separating the Basin from the Administration Building (itself emblazoned with the admiral's deeds)-stood a statue depicting Columbus on San Salvador. Execution of this three-times-life-size portrait sculpture was initially entrusted to Saint-Gaudens's brother Louis, but when he was unable to finish it, the commission passed to his student Mary Lawrence. She depicted the admiral with a raised sword in one hand and a cross-topped flagstaff in the other, planting the Spanish flag on North American soil-that is, taking physical and figurative possession of North America/ Columbia, and vigorously defending his right to do so. Metaphorically speaking, Columbus by this act fathered the Republic; Blaine alluded to a popular fantasy of mythic genesis when he called Columbus 'the man who planted with his flagstaff the seeds of the greatest republic this planet has yet known.'


This statue was made from "staff", a temporary building material that was used extensively throughout the Fair. Given that the material was temporary, it is highly likely that the statue did not survive after the Fair closed.


Sources & Information


Exact Location Unknown

Item Code: usil10; Added: 25 September 2010

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