Analysis Of Crispus Attucks Monument Commemorating The Boston Massacre Of 1770

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In November of 1888, a monument dedicated to the victims of the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770 was unveiled in the Common before a vast crowd of proud city goers. This monument, though a memorial of all the victims fallen during this historical event, bears the name of the fallen African American man who is viewed by many as the first martyr of the American Revolution. Designed and Sculpted by Robert Kraus, the sheer awe-inspiring aspects of the Crispus Attucks Monument will be celebrated for generations to come. Standing from the base to the absolute peak, this monument measures roughly twenty-five feet high and measures just about ten feet its greatest width. This monument is a combination of three works of art put together as one, consisting of the weathered yet smooth Granite obelisk and platform, appears to be the personified Spirit of the Revolution, and the bronze relief of the historical scene of the Boston Massacre in front of the Old State House. Each individual work is impressive in their self, but when they come together as one it truly becomes a beautiful testament to a portion of America’s history. The granite footing to this monument rises form the ground to about a foot, then lips out into another similar slab of shaped granite but forms a rounded edge and is merely a few inches thick. Atop of this second slab, there lie eight rusted and weathered square shaped iron plates, which appear to be the base of what was once a type of barrier or fence around this monument. Looking at the front of the statue, about two feet in diameter removed from the outer edge of the granite, lies the base of granite obelisk in which both the relief and the figure abide. At the rear, inscribed in all capital letters states “Erected in 1888 By the Commonwealth of Massachusetts honor those who fell at the Boston Massacre. ”

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A rectangular projection from the cylindrical shelves of the pedestal holds one of the focal points of this monument, which is implanted just above the raised date of March 5, 1770. This focal point is the bronze bas-relief scene of the Boston Massacre on King Street in front of the old State House. The detail in this 19th century relief would best be seen fist hand in person but can be described to get a reasonable sense of just how intricate it truly is. This chaotic scene displays a crowd of Bostonians on the right being fired at and shot in the street by British Soldiers form the left. In the midst of the bronze cloud of smoke, the first victim of America’s fight for independence, Crispus Attucks lies on the ground from the likes of a musket shot. Framing in this scene is six street viewed profiles of 18th century buildings bearing enough detail to see windows, scaffolding, and rooftop features. In the top left corner of this relief, a quote by Daniel Webster in all capital letters states “From that moment we may date the severance of the British Empire. ” Over on the right side of the plaque, just past of the centered church steeple is another quote, this time by John Adams. It states, “On that night the foundation of American Independence was laid.

The detailed city street gives way to the inscribed name of the artist, Robert Kraus. Ascending atop of the projected pedestal carrying the scene of the Boston Massacre is a seven-foot-tall bronze statue of a majestic woman who appears to be personified as the “Spirit of the Revolution,” or “Free America,” She stands in a victorious and triumphant position peering towards her raised right hand firmly clenching a severed chain which metaphorically represents the separation or breaking free from British rule. The face of this woman projects a feeling of seriousness, or even determination. Topping her thick and flowing hair is what appears to be a variation of a Phrygian or pileus cap, which is commonly depicted as a symbol of freedom based on historical uses in life and in sculpture. Partially cloaked in dress like clothing, a single breast and shoulder remains uncovered, which too signifies freedom based on historical uses of the same symbolism. The rest of her clothing appears to be in motion as if under a slight gust of wind, which too flows through the clasped American flag in her left hand. This flag, though furled up at the moment, gives the impression of slipping ever so slightly from her hand as it desires to flow freely in the wind. Notably, the pole in which the flag clings to has a spear head atop, possibly depicting that this freedom came with the cost of war. At the base of the speared flag pole lies the bare feet of “Free America. ” One foot remains flat on a detailed bronze platform, possibly a rock or wood, partially covered by the tight wind strung drapes of her dress. Her right foot, connected to her forward stepping leg stands upon a broken royal crown, which is half falling off the pedestal. This motion of standing on the crushed crown depicts the fall of the monarchal rule which was once forced upon the people of America. Another crown, smaller in size appearing to be the Queen’s, is stationary to the left of the other, appearing to already have been stomped. The crowns are immensely detailed, showing that the artist spared no time making sure each bronze jewel looked as intricate and realistic as possible. Standing adjacent to Freedom’s bare left foot is a bald eagle, clawing to the edge of the plinth in which it stands with its convincingly sharp talons. This victorious eagle, wings raised and beak open, looks as if it shares the same fervent emotion seen in the face of the woman at it’s front.

The detail inscribed into the feathers of this symbolic bird is yet another impressive feat of the artist Robert Kraus, who’s name appears slightly at the base of the bronze statue right under the tailfeathers of the eagle, along with the projected words “Fecit,” and “Boston 1888. ” Climbing above the bronze statue reveals the remainder of the granite obelisk. Just below the cone shaped apex, thirteen stars are engraved around the circumference of the top of the stone cylinder. These thirteen stars, of course, stand for the original colonies of the United States, appearing on the original flag as well. Slightly beneath these stars, four carved stripes in a row wrap around the pillar to complement the stars above. Under once more are the five names of the fallen at the Boston Massacre, the names are projected outward from the granite in order from top to bottom: Crispus Attucks, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell, Samuel Gray, and Patrick Car.

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