Arts & Culture

Happy 150th Birthday to Sculptor Cyrus E. Dallin

You may be familiar with Cyrus E. Dallin’s Boston monuments. Paul Revere, Anne Hutchinson and Appeal To The Great Spirit are just some of his spiritualistic memorial sculptures inspiring all of us.

Cyrus E. Dallin's Paul Revere Statue in the North End's Prado

Dallin, the son of Thomas and Jane (Hamer) Dallin, was born in Springville, Utah, to a family then belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At age 19, he moved to Boston to study sculpture with T. H. Bartlett, and in 1883 entered a competition for an equestrian statue of Paul Revere. No entries were selected, but over the next 58 years Dallin made seven versions of a monument of Paul Revere.

In Boston, he became a colleague of Augustus St. Gaudens and a close friend of John Singer Sargent. He married Vittoria Colonna Murray in 1891, moved to Arlington, Massachusetts in 1900, where he lived for the rest of his life, and there raised three children. He was a member of the faculty of Massachusetts Normal Art School, since renamed Massachusetts College of Art and Design, from 1899 to 1941.

Anne Hutchinson with her daughter, Suzanne, in front of Massachusetts State House

He created more than 260 works, including well known Boston statues of Paul Revere and of Native Americans. He also sculpted the statue of the Angel Moroni atop the Salt Lake City Temple, which has become a symbol for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is generally the pattern for future Angel Moroni statues on the spires of subsequent LDS Temples.

Dallin was probably the first American Sculptor sensitive enough to depict American Indians as humanist spiritualistic human beings in his statues, because he grew up with them as a boy in Utah. Cyrus E.Dallin conveyed this above sensitivity through his Boston bronze and stone sculptures.

Happy Birthday from Joe Gallo, author of “Boston Bronze and Stone Speak To Us”, a Boston guidebook of historical story telling through our city’s public art.

Ed: As part of a year-long celebration of the 150th birthday of Cyrus Dallin, a special event is planned on April 29, 2012, 12-4pm on the North End’s Prado – Paul Revere Mall. The event will feature historical presentations by the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum, Paul Revere Memorial Association, Old North Church, Friends of The Prado, North End Historical Society and the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association’s Parks and Open Spaces Committee.