Roman Chariot Race

Description
Stephen Ferris collaborated with his brother-in-law Peter Moran in 1875 to make this large 22 x 57cm reproductive etching of Alexander von Wagner’s stirring painting Chariot Race in the Circus Maximus, Rome in the Presence of the Emperor Domitian. The scale of the etching required an oversized copper plate, which was difficult to find. Ferris and Moran fabricated one from the bottom of a copper boiler. According to one source, Moran, who would later specialize in farm animals, etched the horses, the archway in the background, and the roadway. Ferris, later known for his portraits, etched the figures and the rest of the architecture. At the time this etching was one of the largest made in the United States. The print was well received; the New York Times noted: “Of the style of execution we can speak only in the highest terms.”
Alexander von Wagner (1838–1919), a Hungarian artist active in Germany, also enjoyed considerable success when he exhibited the painting Chariot Race in Europe in 1872. Wagner painted other versions; one was shown to critical acclaim at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. The Manchester Art Gallery in England owns a version, which may be seen on its website. It was not unusual at that time for an artist to paint several replicas of a popular subject in different sizes.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
print
Date made
1882
1875
graphic artist
Ferris, Stephen James
original artist
Wagner
graphic artist
Moran, Peter
publisher
J. C. McCurdy & Co.
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
Measurements
image: 22 cm x 57 cm; 8 11/16 in x 22 7/16 in
sheet: 46 cm x 71.5 cm; 18 1/8 in x 28 1/8 in
Place Made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
GA*14534
catalog number
14534
accession number
94830
subject
Art
Horse Racing
Communications
Ferris Collection
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Ferris Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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