Hiram Powers (1805–1873)
25 x 19 ¼ x 10 in.
Bequest of Dorothy S. F. M. Codman
Vermont-born sculptor Hiram Powers moved to Florence in 1837 to solidify his training. His studio there attracted a loyal clientele of travelers from New England, among them Nathaniel Hawthorne, who rhapsodized when he saw this bust: “A light … seems to shine from the interior of the marble, and beam forth from the features.” The figure is Psyche, a Greek goddess personifying the human soul. Powers’s sculpture evoked classical ideals of female beauty and had great appeal in the nineteenth century. In the image below, the sculpture is between the windows in the Codman Estate Drawing Room.