I didn’t ask the name of the reenactor, lower right. He was proud of his unit, and now stands representing all of them.
Public sculpture typically celebrates famed men or mythological figures, but the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw Memorial and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, which sits across from the State House, is in a league of its own.
Within its unified design, the focus turns to each of the enlisted black soldiers as they resolutely march to battle to free slaves. Every face is unique, sympathetic, tragic, and each body moves with muscle, even anger and justice. If August Saint-Gaudens had created no other work, this masterpiece would have sealed his reputation.
Each face is unique and distinctive.
The urgency and motion compressed into the relatively narrow sculpture is amazing. By the way, as the reenactor pointed out, the artist knew he was placing the canteens on the wrong side of the soldiers. It was a matter of artistic license.
Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.