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American Paintings and Sculpture
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: Thomas Crawford, American, 1814–1857
Subject: Homer, Greek, active 8th or 9th century B.C.


Probably 1837


22 1/4 × 11 1/2 × 11 1/2 in. (56.5 × 29.2 × 29.2 cm)
Presented to Yale College by Professor Edward E. Salisbury, B.A. 1832, M.A. 1835, LL.D. 1869
Nothing is known of Homer’s true appearance, since the art of portraiture did not begin in Greece until centuries after his death. Ancient literary sources record invented likenesses of Homer as early as the fifth century B. C., but it was the so called “Blind Homer” portrait created by a Hellenistic Greek sculptor in the second century B. C. that most touched the imaginations of viewers, sculptors, and collectors in antiquity and the modern era alike. Of the numerous ancient copies of the “Blind Homer” portrait that survive, Crawford chose a specific head in the Capitoline Museum in Rome as the model for his version. The drapery that covers the back of the head on the Crawford Homer exists on only one Capitoline copy among all the surviving ancient versions. It is in fact a modern restoration added to the ancient portrait, and reproduced by Crawford.
Made in Rome, Italy
Not on view
19th century
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.