Boston Art Commission

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  • 96-BAC 1X1-Paul Revere
  • 98-Paul_Revere

Paul Revere

Artist:

Cyrus Edwin Dallin

Location:

Paul Revere Mall, between Hanover St. and Salem St.  

Location

Paul Revere Mall, between Hanover St. and Salem St.
United States
42° 21' 56.0088" N, 71° 3' 11.628" W

Neighborhood:

North End

Type:

Sculpture

Year:

1940

Medium:

Bronze and Granite

Collection:

Funders:

Unknown

Description:

This statue of patriotic hero Paul Revere is perhaps the most recognizable landmark in Boston. Cyrus Edwin Dallin depicts Revere on his famous “midnight ride” of 1775, alerting his fellow colonists that the British army was moving toward Lexington, MA. Dallin emphasizes the urgency and energy of Revere’s mission through the posture of both the horse and its rider. Revere attempts to keep his balance as his horse abruptly halts, rearing back slightly. Dallin’s design also seems to recognize the presence of his viewers. Walk over to Revere’s right side, and you play the role of a colonist receiving his message.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, several myths and misconceptions about Revere’s ride came to be accepted as truth. In fact, Revere did not yell “The British are coming!” so as not to be overheard by British informants, and he was only one among dozens of riders who spread the message on horseback. His midnight ride was perhaps less important to American independence than the work he did as an engraver. With his widely circulated depictions of the Boston Massacre and other events, Revere helped to incite anger towards the British and sympathy towards the colonists. Despite the myths, Revere has retained his significance as a key symbol of the energy and courage that drove colonists in their fight against imperial rule, and Dallin has placed him in this familiar role.

Although Dallin designed this sculpture for a competition in 1885, it was not cast in bronze until 1940. The statue’s installation was halted for several years, after another artist assailed Dallin’s winning submission, calling it unrealistic. In the 1930s, the Daughters of the American Revolution petitioned to have the commission completed.

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