Chauncey Bradley Ives (American, 1810–1894),
Shepherd Boy and Kid
marble, 56 x 24 x 19 in.; 142.24 x 60.96 x 48.26 cm
Gift of the Joslyn Art Museum Association in honor of its Fiftieth Anniversary, 2001.16
Like many nineteenth-century American sculptors, Ives spent the majority of his career in Italy studying the works of classical antiquity. He enjoyed tremendous stature and success and was known equally for large-scale works based on mythological and literary themes as well as diminutive depictions of children that satisfied his audiences’ taste for the sentimental. Shepherd Boy and Kid, his last great antebellum sculpture, reveals Ives’ tendencies toward both the timeless and the everyday. The boy’s downward gaze and his pose have clear antecedents in classical sculpture; the pipe and kid recall Pan, the Greek god of nature. At the same time, the Arcadian theme reflected contemporary dissatisfaction with urbanization and industrialization and the growing artistic interest in Naturalism. Idealized scenes of pastoral settings were popular by the mid nineteenth century.