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Paul Howard Manship

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Paul Howard Manship

American, (1885–1966)
As a young man in St. Paul, Minnesota, Paul Howard Manship (1885-1966) determined to be an artist and made masks of his family while eschewing his school work. At the age of twenty he went to study at New York's Art Students League followed by a few years traveling in Europe. There he was exposed to the stylized work of archaic Greek, Roman, Persian and Indian sculpture with their emphasis on simplified form. Upon returning to New York, Manship fused this interest in ancient art with the streamlined, sleek look of modernism and the machine age of the early 1910s and 1920s. His work gained great popularity, especially for monumental, architectural commissions including his well-known sculpture of Prometheus at Rockefeller Center. He continued, however, to make studio pieces such as this one of Briseis.
The figure is a clear reference to ancient sculpture with the contrapostal nude figure holding a drape of fabric that serves, along with her graceful arms, to encircle her torso. The mythological subject represents Briseis who was taken prisoner by Achilles after killing her family during the Trojan War. Her pose is one of sublication to her conconquer as she reveals to him her physical attributes.

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