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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Frederic Remington, American, 1861-1909

The Rattlesnake (Snake in the Path)
Copyrighted 1905; remodeled 1908; cast
Gift of Lawrence Marx Jr., Class of 1936; S.960.13.1


The Rattlesnake was Frederic Remington’s twelfth statuette, and like his first, Bronco Buster, it reveals his mastery of form, line, and dramatic action. Here the cowboy and horse appear to spiral in on themselves as they respond to the threatening rattlesnake that is wound up and ready to spring from the ground. Remington modeled his first version of The Rattlesnake in 1905. Dissatisfied with the result, he reworked and enlarged the form for another casting in 1908. This second and final version differs more from its original model than any of his several recast sculptures. Among the changes, he increased the forward lean of the rider, heightening the integral relationship between the cowboy and the horse. This not only adds to the compositional unity of the piece but accentuates the close, intuitive bond between man and horse—a theme also prominent in his paintings of the same period. Only about twenty casts of The Rattlesnake were made during the artist’s lifetime, but Roman Bronze Works went on to cast about ninety copies of this larger version posthumously. Next to the Bronco Buster, this was his most popular statuette.

Last Updated: 4/29/09