Jean Antonin Mercié, Lee Monument, Richmond, 1886–90
Bronze, pictured at the time of the unveiling
In Richmond during the 1880s, veterans of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and members of the Ladies' Lee Monument Association collaborated to stage a sculpture competition to honor the most revered of the former Confederates. In the winning entry, sculpted by a French artist, the giant figure of the general restrains his powerful but graceful mount; Lee is shown to be the embodiment of self-control. The size and mood of the crowd at the statue's unveiling—some 150,000 exuberant white southerners—made clear Lee's high reputation in the South in 1890. For those admirers, only the word "Lee" was needed on the base to identify the subject.
Virginia Historical Society