Bust of Proserpine
An important figure in the Anglo-American community of Florence, Italy, Hiram Powers specialized in sculptures based on literature. Proserpine, one of his earliest efforts, represents the Roman goddess of spring. Pluto (god of the underworld) abducts the young Proserpine and holds her captive for several months each year. Her release to her mother marks the return of spring to the earth. Proserpine became the artist’s most popular bust, particularly favored by women. He produced three versions and more than one hundred copies of the subject.