The Solitude of the Soul, modeled 1901, cast 1994<img alt="" src="/sites/GovernorsMansion/Exhibitions/PublishingImages/Art-of-Illinois/Taft-The-Solitude-of-the-Soul.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />The Solitude of the Soul, modeled 1901, cast 1994<div class="ExternalClassB1910EB728BC484B82BF65FA47B31D19"><p>​Their backs to each other and eyes closed, the four figures in Lorado Taft’s Solitude of the Soul are connected by touch but otherwise isolated—"blind, groping, and clinging to each other," in the sculptor’s words.1 The idealized nudes, two women and two men, symbolize the shared existential loneliness of the individual. This is Taft’s early rendering of his first major work of ideal sculpture: originally modeled in plaster and later cast in bronze, The Solitude of the Soul took final form in a life-size marble version carved on commission for the Art Institute of Chicago in 1914. In contrast to the monumental marble, the bronze retains evidence of the spontaneous process of creation as the artist rapidly modeled the original soft plaster with his fingers. </p><p>Born in Elmwood, Illinois, and trained in Parisian art academies, Taft was Chicago’s most prominent public sculptor in the decades around the turn of the twentieth century, as well as a prolific writer, generous educator, and tireless advocate for art and artists in his hometown. Like many of his contemporaries, Taft believed that the city’s relentless commercialism and mind-boggling pace of change demanded public works of art that would foster community cohesion in a metropolis known more often for competition and conflict. He sought to express universal ideas in his sculptures through an aesthetic language of idealization, uplift, and beauty. Beginning in the 1910s, Taft’s unwavering adherence to traditional artistic values made him a target of derision for the city’s modernist rebels. Nonetheless, his most important works still grace the streets and parks of Chicago and other American cities. </p></div>GP0|#aaab343f-645d-4b5c-a2af-fdfed42f8d9c;L0|#0aaab343f-645d-4b5c-a2af-fdfed42f8d9c|Lorado Taft;GTSet|#6a9f5109-021d-478a-ae73-864102492159;GPP|#9d68cbd3-25f3-49f0-8924-6cbe6cdb2f21;GPP|#be65f490-4890-487c-bb16-c396d99511f7Art;#TemporarySculpture;#Sculpture Metal;#Chicago, IllinoisBronze, 29 × 15 × 12 inches Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois on behalf of its Krannert Art Museum Museum Purchase through the Harlan E. Moore Charitable Trust Fund Reproduced at right is an identical cast from the permanent collection of th