Greenough, Horatio

Greenough, Horatio

(grē`nō), 1805–52, American sculptor and writer, b. Boston, grad. Harvard, 1824, and studied in Italy under Thorvaldsen. A protégé of Washington Allston, he was a man of ideas in advance of his time. His colossal statue of Washington, commissioned for the Capitol, was too heavy for the floor and was set up on the grounds; it was later placed in the Smithsonian Institution. The Rescue is on the east stairway of the Capitol. Greenough is admired now for his writings, in which he heralded the modern concept of functionalism in architecture.

Bibliography

See his Travels, Observations, and Experiences of a Yankee Stonecutter (1852); his letters (ed. by N. Wright, 1972); his collected writings, Form and Function (1958).

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Greenough, Horatio

(805–52) sculptor; born in Boston, Mass. Drawn to painting and sculpture from his boyhood, he was encouraged by the painter, Washington Allston, before graduating from Harvard (1825). He went off to study sculpture in Rome, the first American to do so, but malaria forced him home (1827) where he worked on portrait busts. In 1828 he went to Florence, Italy, where he maintained a studio until 1851 and took on many commissions from prominent Americans. (James Fenimore Cooper was a major patron.) He became known for his heroic and idealized sculptures, culminating in the ancient-Roman style statue of George Washington (1832–40), originally in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C., but now in the Smithsonian Institution. In 1851 he returned to the U.S.A., settling in Newport, R.I., writing Aesthetics in Washington (1851) about his artistic principles.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.