Atlas at 630 Fifth Avenue

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Nov 16 02:14:36 UTC 2005

At 5:52 PM -0500 11/15/05, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
>Ah, yes, that's her! Mary Lawton!
>I've included on my website the person who posed for NYC's  "Prometheus"
>statue (see "Leaping Louie" at _www.barrypopik.com_
>( ).
>I should have mentioned that I'm also looking for who posed for "Atlas"
>(opposite St. Patrick's) and "Mercury" (Grand Central Terminal).

I actually downloaded a bunch of photographs of the statue at 630
Fifth Avenue for a paper I was giving last spring, and also paid a
visit to the statue on a trip to the city, and I really wonder
whether we need to assume that anyone actually posed for it.  The
discussion at
discusses a number of Lee Lawrie's other sculptures in the
neighborhood and notes:

"Controversy was no stranger to art at Rockefeller Center and when
this sculpture was installed in 1937, some observers imagined in
Atlas's face a resemblance to the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini."

But there's not a whole lot of detail in the face, and it struck me
that Lawrie might have just had a kind of all-purpose Titan in mind
or mind's eye.  As mentioned, no model need be assumed here.  (I
think it's safe to assume that the statue is *not* modeled on Charles
Atlas, né Angelo Siciliano, the former 97-pound weakling and
self-described Strongest Man in the World.)


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