The following was written by Ron Coffey and first appeared in the Times-Gazette newspaper:
One of the best-known original works of sculpture at McClain High School in Greenfield is the bust of “Ginevra,” created by Hiram Powers (1805-1873).
Born near Woodstock, Vt., Powers moved to Cincinnati while still a boy and later discovered his love of sculpture at the studio of Frederick Eckstein, who encouraged Powers to develop his rare talents.
Powers subsequently moved to Washington, D.C. and made a name for himself creating busts of Jackson, Webster and Calhoun. In 1837 he relocated to Florence, Italy and spent the rest of his life there.
Powers is known for his highly idealistic and imaginative portraits, busts and statues. The most celebrated of his works is the “Greek Slave”. Other notable works are “Eve”, “America”, “The Fisher Boy”, and “California”.
“Ginevra” was executed in 1837, shortly after Powers’ arrival in Florence, and was the first of his idealistic works.
Hiram Powers actually made several versions of “Ginevra” — probably due to popular demand. Other versions of the marble bust can be seen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Cincinnati Art Museum.
On Labor Day Weekend 2015 (Sept. 4-5-6), McClain High School will celebrate its centennial with numerous special activities.