Randolph Rogers (American, Waterloo, New York 1825–1892 Rome)
1853–54; carved 1859
54 x 25 1/4 x 37 in. (137.2 x 64.1 x 94 cm)
Gift of James Douglas, 1899
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 700
"Nydia, the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii" was the most popular American sculpture of the nineteenth century. According to Rogers, it was replicated 167 times in two sizes. The subject was drawn from "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1834), a widely read novel by Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton, which ends with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in a.d. 79. Rogers’s evocative portrayal of Nydia highlights her heroic attempt to lead two companions out of the burning, ash-covered city. Her closed eyes and staff allude to her blindness, while the hand raised to her ear refers to her acute sense of hearing. The destruction of Pompeii is symbolized by the broken Corinthian capital beside her right foot.
Signature: [at left, on capital]: Randolph Rogers, / ROME 1859.
James Douglas, 1859; his son James H. Douglas, until 1899