Aware of Saint-Gaudens’s desire to model a female nude, the architect Stanford White (1853–1906) gave him the commission for a weathervane for the tower of Madison Square Garden (demolished 1925). The first, eighteen-foot-tall sculpture proved too large and was replaced in 1894 by a streamlined version, five feet shorter. It became one of New York’s most popular landmarks, and the sculptor capitalized on its success by issuing numerous reductions. This cast is a half-size model of the second version, produced from a cement cast once owned by White. Saint-Gaudens eschewed the traditional full-bodied interpretation of Diana, the Roman goddess of the moon and the hunt, focusing instead on simple, elegant lines and a strong silhouette.
Marking: [foundry mark, base]: P.B. v. Co. MUNICH MADE IN GERMANY
Commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1928