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Rebecca at the Well

Artist: Chauncey B. Ives (1810 -1894) American working in Rome
Date: 1866
Material: Marble
Original location: Library
Inscribed at xxx of base
Pedestal: Original, rotating
73.34 Gift of Belmont College to Belmont Mansion Association

Chauncey B. Ives was another American sculptor living in Italy, part of the next generation of artistic expatriates.[i] Ives was known for his detailed idealized sculpted figures. Ives submitted portrait busts of William Seward and General Scott to the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, and has sculptures of Jonathan Trumbull and Roger Sherman in the Capitol Building.[ii]

Rebecca at the Well, is the marble personification of the biblical story of Rebecca providing water for Isaac from a well. This sculpture brought to light the American Cult of Domesticity, where a woman was expected and eulogized to be a purely domestic and submissive housewife. It was one of his more popular pieces he received twenty five commissions for this piece.

In the nineteenth century, there was a revival of the Greco-Roman Classical aesthetic, emphasizing purity, order, and clarity.[iii] Rebecca at the Well’s obvious Classicism, along with C.B. Ives’ artistic reputation, would have introduced a new level of sophistication and high achievement to Adelicia’s home collection.[iv] His work would have underlined Adelicia’s wealth and the public’s knowledge of her collection. Adelicia bought Ives’ sculpture of Rebecca on the Grand Tour in Rome in 1866.[v] She placed it in the Library. Adelicia loaned this statue for exhibit at the Nashville Centennial Exposition in 1880.

Frances Williams
3 November 2017

[i] Mark W. Scala and Susan W. Knowles, An Enduring Legacy: Art of the Americas From Nashville Collections, (Frist Center for the Visual Arts), n. 68. [From the Belmont File]

[ii] Fairman, Art and Artists of the Capitol of the United States of America, 256. [From the Belmont File]

[iii] Fred Kleiner et al, Gardner's Art through the Ages (Harcourt College, 2001), 847.

[iv] Wayne Craver, Sculpture in America, (Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York), 1968, 285. [From the Belmont File]

[v] Scala and Knowles, An Enduring Legacy, n. 68. [From the Belmont File]

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