Artist: John Paul Strain Title: Robert E. Lee’s Memorial (Lee Chapel – Washington and Lee University
Lexington, Virginia) Image Size: Paper 19.25 x 28/ Canvas: 16" x 23, 22" x 32" and 27" x 40" Edition: Signed and Numbered Giclee - edition of 250 on Paper and 170 Canvas editions. Medium: Giclee on Paper and Canvas About the Art: Many thought of him as the realized King Arthur. Revered and loved by his soldiers, Robert E. Lee became one of the greatest generals in American history. A visiting British woman wrote "General Lee is the handsomest man of his age I ever saw. His manners are most courteous and full of dignity...he has none of the small vices...and his bitterest enemy never accused him of any of the greater ones." Perpetually faithful to his wife, he neither drank, swore or smoked. He prayed for guidance from the Almighty long and often. As a cadet at West Point he did not receive a single demerit. His classmates affectionately referred to him as the "Marble Model".
When Robert E. Lee died on Oct 14, 1870, a funeral procession took his remains to the chapel. VMI Cadet honor guards stood watch through the night. He was buried beneath the chapel, where he remains to this day. A year after his death, the sculptor Edward Valentine was commissioned to create a life size marble sculpture of General Lee in uniform asleep on his cot. The completed work entitled "Recumbent Lee" is reminiscent of Medieval sculptures of the Knights of Old England. In 1933 the United Daughters of the Confederacy were granted permission to display original Army of Northern Virginia battle flags with the sculpture. Two brass standards holding eight original flags and later exact reproductions would be part of General Robert E. Lee's memorial for over 80 years. Today General Lee's spirit can still be felt there, along with the soldiers who served with him. -J.P.S.
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