About this artwork
This is not a historically accurate vision of Pocahontas but a deeply distorted yet enduring one rooted in myth. Born around 1595 with the name Matoaka, Pocahontas (her Algonquian nickname) was a Powhatan Indian who lived in the Tidewater region of present-day Virginia. A daughter of the leader of a Native confederacy of Algonquian-speaking people, she was kidnapped by British settlers as a young adolescent and taken to Jamestown, where she converted to Christianity, married John Rolfe, and then traveled to England, dying there in 1617.
Joseph Mozier portrayed Pocahontas with a tamed deer at her side and cross in hand, as if her religious and cultural transformation was a peaceful, self-directed act. Such imagery appealed to white audiences in the mid-19th century because it shaped an American origin story of romance, willing conversion, and domesticity, and effaced the violent circumstances of Pocahontas’s life and the brutal conquest of Native American people and lands.
- Currently Off View
- Arts of the Americas
- Joseph Mozier (Sculptor)
- Rome (Object made in)
- Signed, dated, and inscribed (on the base): "J. MOZIER. Sc:/ROME. 1868" Titled (on the base): "POCAHONTAS"
- H.: 121.8 cm (48 in.)
- The Roger McCormick and J. Peter McCormick funds