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About This Artwork
Amor Caritas, modeled 1897; cast after 1899
131.4 x 80.7 cm (51 3/4 x 31 3/4 in.)
Inscribed, lower left: "AVGVSTVS./SAINT-GAVDENS/MDCCCXCVII"
Plaque at top inscribed: "Amor Caritas"
Roger McCormick Fund, 1982.211
Augustus Saint-Gaudens was a leading sculptor of the Gilded Age. This elaborately draped, angelic female figure is the culmination of Saint-Gaudens’s studies of allegorical figures, which included similar designs for both the Edwin D. Morgan tomb in Hartford, Connecticut, and the mantelpiece in the house of Cornelius Vanderbilt II in New York. Amor Caritas (Angel of Charity) probably depicts Davida Clark, the artist’s mistress. Saint-Gaudens often depicted angels, as did many other late 19th-century artists, to symbolize the perceived virtues of women. The sculptor brought a level of naturalism to his ideal figure, particularizing the facial features and rendering the drapery so that it appears to fall atop the human form beneath.
— Permanent collection label
Judith A. Barter et al, American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), pp. 267-270, no. 132.