Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The First Glasses-Wearing Statue

Popular Mechanics, August 1911
Meet James “Sunny Jim” Sherman, Vice President of the United States in 1911 (under William Howard Taft) whose good-natured looking bust was carved that year. It was the first statue/bust to be made in which the subject was wearing glasses. “Sunny Jim” got his nickname from his pleasant nature. He was also the first Vice President to fly in an airplane and the first to throw a ceremonial first baseball at a baseball game.

Bessie Vonnoh, not wearing glasses
Bessie Vonnoh was the sculptor who was first able to create a bust or statue that wore eyeglasses (another sculptor had tried to do this for Teddy Roosevelt a few years earlier, but didn’t quite succeed). Bessie Potter Vonnoh (I don’t know where the article got the “C” from, and they misspelled her surname, too) was 39 years old in 1911, mainly known for bronze sculptures and garden fountains. She had been one of the “White Rabbits” - woman artists who worked with sculptor Lorenzo Taft (also Vonnoh’s art school professor) at the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. She gathered many awards and honors during her career, but I am especially intrigued with her ground-breaking depiction of Sunny Jim in his splendid eyeglasses.

And speaking of splendid eyeglasses - at Zenni Optical right now you can get 3 pairs of any kind of eyeglasses you like for the price of 2 (of equal or lesser value) - it's a limited-time offer, so do check it out now. You can get fabulous eyeglasses at Zenni Optical, the  #1 online glasses store. Prices range  from an amazing $4.95 for  glasses (tinted or untinted) and $6.95 and up for prescription glasses. You can also choose from full frames, half frames, rimless glasses and sunglasses. And you can try out the frames before you buy them with Zenni's special frame fit. So have a look to see what suits you best and then take advantage of this special promotion. Who knows? You might just be wearing them when someone decides to make a statue of you, too.

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