Friday, 3 July 2009

Bacchante & Infant Faun – Frederick MacMonnies


Intended for the 1886 Boston Public Library, the staid Bostonians told architect Charles McKim it was too racy for their conservative tastes.  “Vulgar” and “immoral” it was called.  “Drunken indecency” the Christian Temperance Union called it.

The bronze now finds a permanent home in the just re-opened American wing and sculpture court of NY’s Museum of Metropolitan Art.  Check out this video at the Nearby Pen to see more of this and many other great sculptures. (Photo by Trish Mayo.)


  1. That wonderful bronze has been in the American Wing forever, but the marble is so much more delicious! Where is it?

  2. Hi Jeff, Yeah, I was bowled over by seeing it in marble. Delicious is the very word. :-)

    I'm pretty sure the photographer's Flickr site had it placed in the Brooklyn Museum of Art -- which I believe you know. ;-)

  3. Note that in November 2000, the Boston Public Library reinstalled the original bronze statue in the courtyard of the Central Library McKim building, so things worked out in the end. It just took a really long time. :-)

    The delicious part is that it now faces a bust of Francis Amasa Walker, who was a trustee of the BPL. He, I believe, was one of the few who objected to the statue. And now he has to stare at it forever.

    Note also, that it's not the nudity that people objected to, but the grapes. "No tipsy statue!" was the cry.

  4. "I'm pretty sure the photographer's Flickr site had it placed in the Brooklyn Museum of Art"

    Hmmm... don't remember seeing it there two years ago. Better look more carefully this September.

    As to the grapes... I'm reminded of the joke in Rob Roy: "Rob. D'ya know why Calvinists object to shaggin' standin' oop? They fear it'll lead to dancin'!"

    Strange are the ways of the repressed and joyless.

  5. The photograph was taken at the Brooklyn Museum. The marble is located on the 5th floor in the American Identities Gallery.


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