Shop The Prayer at Valley Forge
Liberty magazine featured Friberg’s Forging a Nation on its cover in 1941. A sculpted Uncle Sam, symbolizing the strength of America, forges a sword under the watchful and fierce eye of the eagle, symbolizing freedom. Rather than portray Uncle Sam as a spindly gentleman, as was the more typical depiction in his day, Friberg took a fresh approach. To convey America’s power, he focused on the bulging, veined biceps of a blacksmith wielding his hammer. Friberg’s thorough creative process is reflected in every detail of this piece. He engaged Rudolph Essmaker, the first Mr. America, to serve as the model for Uncle Sam. In addition to studying and sketching bald eagles at the zoo, Friberg rented a life-sized statue of an eagle to accompany him as he painted. He visited a blacksmith to carefully watch each stroke of his hammer as the blacksmith forged a double-edged sword. Friberg was proud of America’s heritage and, as reflected in this painting, realized that only the strong can be free.
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