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 Edward Virginius Valentine  (1838 - 1930)

About: Edward Virginius Valentine


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Lived/Active: Virginia      Known for: sculptor, painter-portraits

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Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
Edward Virginius Valentine was born in Richmond on November 12, 1838 to Mann Satterwhite Valentine, a successful merchant, and his wife, the former Elizabeth Mosby. The youngest of nine children, Edward had talent that was revealed early on, and young “Ned” won his first art award at the age of seventeen, for a bust of the Apollo Belvedere exhibited at the Mechanics Institute Fair in Richmond.

In 1856, he studied human anatomy at the Medical College of Virginia and received instruction in drawing from the Richmond artist, William James Hubard. From 1859 to 1865, Valentine traveled in Europe, studying under Couture and Jouffrey in Paris, Bonanti in Florence and August Kiss in Berlin.

Upon Professor Kiss’s death--and the conclusion of the War Between the States--Valentine returned to Richmond, opening his own studio. There he produced classical pieces as well as commissioned work. Most scholars and texts recognize Valentine as the most renowned sculptor in the South during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Certainly, Valentine’s sculptures of Robert E Lee, especially the recumbent statue of Lee at his burial site in the chapel at Washington and Lee University, are his most famous. Other significant works include the statues of Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson Davis in Richmond.

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