Bronze sculpture of a standing male figure his right hand holding a shield which rests upon a stack of book while his left arm is outstretched hovering over the crouching figure of an African American male figure.
At the end of the Civil War (1861–65) there was an effort to promote an American Renaissance and to beautify cities with civic monuments and public sculpture. Sculptors, including Randolph Rogers, were commissioned to produce memorials that addressed themes of war and slavery and to commemorate military heroes, from the common soldier to President Abraham Lincoln himself. This work is a maquette for the Emancipation Memorial in Washington D.C.’s Lincoln Park, which depicts Abraham Lincoln as the “Great Emancipator” freeing a slave, establishing a narrative of theoretical peace and unity.
Although Ball joined the circle of the American Neo-classical sculptor Hiram Powers, his work remained rooted in an objective naturalism and a devotion to American subjects. The monuments, small bronzes and portraits he produced in the following years are characterized by their smooth surfaces and minimal detail.