Diana is arguably the best-known work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who was recognized at the turn of the century as the country’s finest sculptor. When installed in 1893 on the tower of New York’s Madison Square Garden to serve as a weather vane, Diana ruled the highest point in Manhattan. The sculpture’s gilded form caught the sun during the day and was illuminated at night by the city’s first electric floodlights.
Madison Square Garden was demolished in 1925 and the Philadelphia Museum of Art adopted the sculpture in 1932 with support for conservation and shipping from the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art). Diana has reigned as the goddess of the Museum’s Great Stair Hall ever since. In 2013–14, Museum conservators repaired and preserved Diana’s copper structure and restored the sculpture’s original gold leaf finish.
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