Label Text: I only regret that I have but one life to lose for
my country. Nathan Hale
How does an artist convey heroism? In this sculpture, we see the bound hands and feet almost immediately. But with more scrutiny, we notice the open hand gesture, the slight turn of the head, and the subtle lift
of the chin. This is a proud man accepting his fate, whatever it may be.
Nathan Hale was a young teacher whom General George Washington pressed into service to discover the British army’s plans for an invasion of Manhattan Island in September 1776. Captured behind enemy lines, Hale was hanged as a traitor without a trial.
This is a maquette, or model, for a life-size bronze that stands in City Hall Park in New York City at what is thought to be the site of Hale’s hanging. It is considered one of MacMonnies’ finest sculptures.