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EZEKIEL, MOSES JACOB:

American sculptor; born in Richmond, Va., Oct. 28, 1844; educated at the Virginia Military Institute, from which, after serving as a Confederate soldier in the Civil war, he was graduated. He then determined to devote himself to an artistic career. Among his early works is the painting entitled "The Prisoner's Wife."

Ezekiel soon turned from the study of painting to that of sculpture. One of his first successful efforts as a sculptor was his "Cain, or The Offering Rejected." In 1868 he removed to Cincinnati, and there modeled a statue of "Industry," which evoked favorable criticism. There being no art school in Cincinnati, he went to Germany, and in Berlin studied under the sculptor Rudolph Siemering. Some of his works produced at this time were the basreliefs of Schiller and Goethe, now in the Villa Collin, Berlin; "The Sailor Boy"; and the statue of "Virginia Mourning Her Dead."

On the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war Ezekiel became special correspondent of the "New York Herald." At Pillau he was suspected of being a French spy, and was confined for eight days in the Kronprinz-Caserne. After his release he worked in the studio of Prof. Albert Wolff of Berlin, where he executed the colossal bust of Washington now in the Cincinnati Art Museum. Upon the completion of this work he was elected a member of the Berlin Society of Artists. Establishing a studio for himself, he modeled, among other works, a bust of Mercury, a caryatid for Daniel Collin, and a bust of Grace Darling. His model in relief entitled "Israel," and a sketch-model for a group, "Adam and Eve Finding the Slain Abel," were awarded the Michael Beer Prize of Rome.

During a visit to America in 1874 he executed in marble a statue of "Religious Liberty" (see illustration on page 320)—the tribute of the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith to the centennial celebration of American independence. The statue was unveiled in 1876 in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. Upon his return to Rome Ezekiel leased a portion of the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian, and transformed them into one of the most beautiful studios in Europe. Here he created for the niches of the Corcoran Art Gallery at Washington the heroic statues of Phidias, Raphael, Dürer, Michelangelo, Titian, Murillo, Da Vinci, Van Dyck, Canova, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Crawford. In 1896 a memorial to Jesse Seligman was executed by him for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, New York. He has been elected a member of various academies, and was knighted by the German emperor.

Of his works the following may also be mentioned: mural monument to Lord Sherbrook, St. Margaret's, Westminster, London; monument to Massarani, in the Jewish cemetery, Rome; fountain of Neptune, Nettuno, Italy; Jefferson monument, Lexington, Va.; recumbent statue of [Mrs. Andrew D. White, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.; Hausserek monument, Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, O.; "Christ in the Tomb," in the Chapel of La Charité, Rue Jean Goujon, Paris; David; Homer; Beethoven; Portia; Eve (now in the palace of Sans Souci, near Berlin); Queen Esther; portrait-busts of Cardinal Hohenlohe, Liszt, QueenMargarita of Italy, and the Grand Duke of Saxe-Meiningen.

Bibliography:
  • Clement and Hutton, Artists of the Nineteenth Century, part i., p. 243, Boston, 1879-84;
  • El Diritto, Rome, Sept. 2, 1876.
A. K. M. C.
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