Maker: Daniel Chester French , American, 1850-1931
Dimensions: 40 x 32 x 23 1/4 in. (101.6 x 81.3 x 59.1 cm.)
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Purchased with funds from the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation
Object Number: 97.9
Label Text: Benediction features a winged figure with her arms outstretched in a gesture of blessing. Though the generalized allegorical nature of the subject is part of a tradition of American Neoclassical sculpture, French's lively treatment of the surface of the bronze and emphasis on naturalism and movement show the influence of newer styles of late 19th-century European sculpture. A 16-foot tall version of Benediction was to be the centerpiece of a monument in France honoring soldiers from Massachusetts who died in World War I. In French's design for the monument, the winged figure, which appeared in many of his works, blessed a recumbent soldier shrouded with an American flag. Neither the monument, designed by architect Henry Bacon, nor the larger version of French's sculpture were created. However, Bacon's base for the sculpture has been executed here from the original plans. Bacon and French later successfully collaborated on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., dedicated in 1922.