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Rosemary Mayer

ROSEMARY MAYER’S EXHIBITION at the A.I.R. Gallery in 1973 established her singular authority as a sculptor. There were three major pieces, each named after a historical woman: Hroswitha, Galla Placidia, and The Catharines. The first was a 10th-century German nun who wrote Latin poetry; the second a 5th-century Roman Empress; the third an amalgam of namesakes, from Catharine of Siena to Catharine the Great of Russia. Each of these works is over life size, meaning that it rises higher than eye-level and exceeds the span of one’s outstretched arms. In a one-page text that accompanied her show, Mayer identified one of the women in this manner: “The title refers to Galla Placidia who, from 425 A.D. until her death in 450, ruled the Western Roman Empire, from Rome and later Ravenna, for her incompetent son Valentinian III, the last more or less legitimate Emperor of the West.”1

The idea of taking

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