Cyrus Dallin

Cyrus Dallin

Sculptor
Cyrus Edwin Dallin
Studied At/With
Truman H. Bartlett, Boston
Henri Michel Chapu, Academie Julien, Paris
Born 22 November 1861
Died 14 November 1944

Cyrus Dallin, American Sculptor

Cyrus Dallin’s grandparents had moved to Utah after joining the Church. His parents had settled in the small Utah town of Springville, near where Dallin’s father mined, and had raised their family Presbyterian. Dallin grew up associating with the children in local American Indian tribes, and first attempted sculpture by making busts of the local Indian leaders and chiefs out of river clay. However, it was in his father’s mine that Dallin’s skills gained him recognition. A vein of white clay was discovered in the mine, and from it Dallin sculpted busts of a man and a woman. These busts were noticed by a visitor from Boston, C. H. Blanchard; it was he who encouraged Cyrus to formally study sculpture.

In 1890 at the age of 21 Dallin was asked to sculpt a statue for the temple. He had by this point spent years studying sculpture in Boston and Paris and had gained international recognition for his sculptures of Native Americans. Dallin has already been commissioned to create the Monument to Brigham Young that currently stands at the south end of the Temple Square Plaza when President Woodruff asked him to do the Angel for the temple as well. The Salt Lake Temple was the first to have a statue specifically identified as the Angel Moroni. Cyrus Dallin chose Moroni, the Book of Mormon prophet who revealed the Gold Plates to Joseph Smith, as the subject of his sculpture. This statue has become a symbol for the Church.

Cyrus’s most famous work is a series of four sculptures known as The Epic of the Indian. Together the four pieces, A Signal of Peace, or “the welcome” (1890); The Medicine Man, or “the warning” (1899); The Protest, or “the defiance” (1904); and Appeal to the Great Spirit (1909) tell a story of the struggle of the American Indian to co-exist with those who moved into their lands.

Sculpture was not the only interest Cyrus Dallin had. He had a great fondness for archery that led him to compete in the sport, eventually earning him a Bronze Medal in the 1914 Olympics in St. Louis Missouri for team archery.

Dallin would choose to become a Unitarian, but said of the experience of creating the Statue for the Salt Lake Temple “I consider that my ‘angel Moroni’ brought me nearer to God than anything I ever did. It seemed to me that I came to know what it means to commune with angels from heaven.”


Gallery of Dallin’s Work

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References

David Porter “Angel Moroni Statues Atop Mormon Temples Are More Than Decoration” mormonnewsroom.org, 12 July 2011
Aimee Taberner and Sarah Burks, “About: A Welcome from the Co-Chairs” dallin.org
“About Dallin” dallin.org
“8 Facts about the Salt Lake Temple Angel Moroni” templesquare.com, 18 September 2014.
“The Cyrus Dallin Story” northeastfinearts.com
“Cyrus Edwin Dallin” wikipedia.org
“Cyrus Dallin” databaseolympics.com
“Dallin, Cyrus Edwin” springvilleartmuseum.org

Dallin’s Moroni

Cyrus Dallin's Angel Moroni, Salt Lake Temple (Photogent.com)

 


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