Where to Stay
What to See
DFW Tours! Art in Dallas and Fort Worth. What to see and what to do.
Semiramis – William Wetmore Story – Dallas Museum Art
This beautiful carving of Semiramis is found at the main entrance to the DMA. Its intricate work is reflective of Story’s attention to detail – though he did have a large workshop filled with assistant stone cutters.
While you are drawn to the beauty and majesty of the piece upon closer inspection you find a face of stone – the cold hard face of Semiramis, Assyrian Queen for whom the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built. Semiramis’ life is that of both myth and reality. You may read more about here here.
Although Semiramis ruled Babylon well for fifteen years, during that time she was stricken with guilt over the murder of her husband and the loss of her son.
Is most famous work is his last, the Angel of Grief for his wife’s tomb in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. Her also Lord Byron is buried after he drowned when his boat the Calypso capsized. Lord Byron once said of the cemetery, “tis so beautiful one would almost want to die, to stay here.”
William Wetmore Story and his wife were prolific entertainers while in Rome and his close friends included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Russell Lowell, and later, Henry James. Story was betrayed by James Russell Lowell in a published novel. While Story and his wife had a home filled with friends and children, and their Sunday evening soirees were legendary, Lowell never married and was alone.
Story’s daughter spent her life publishing and setting the record straight about her father. Story’s father had been a Supreme Court Justice in the United States and Story studied law at Harvard but his true love was the arts. In addition to being a sculptor he was a prolific writer.
In Rome his focus was powerful female subjects whose lives were filled with intrigue, deception, and tragedy.
Semiramis was a historical Assyrian queen of Babylonian birth who lived and reigned around 800 B.C. By the 18th century the legends associated with her life had eclipsed her actual accomplishments as queen, notably due to the popularity of Voltaire’s play, written in 1784.
Cleopatra, is found a the Met in NYC. Story focused on women of intrigue and included Medea, Delilah, Electra, and Saul.
The Libyan Sibyl is its companion piece. Both raw, genuine pieces imbued with insight, neither have the detail of the fair and terrible Semiramis.
He was prolific but his shop had roughly 20 carving helpers.
After Long Days of Dull Perpetual Rain
After long days of dull perpetual rain,
And from gray skies, the sun at last shines bright,
And all the sparkling trees are glad with light,
And all the happy world laughs out again;
The sorrow is forgotten, past the pain;
For Nature has no memory, feels the blight
Of no regret, nor mars the day’s delight
With idle fears and hopes and longings vain.
Ah me! it is not so with us; the ghost
Of vanished joys pursues us everywhere;
We live as much in all that we have lost
As what we own; no present is so fair
That the best moment’s sunlight is not crossed
By shadowy shapes of hope, and fear, and care.
- DFW Tours! What to See in Dallas and Fort Worth --