Las Casas Pleads for the Indian

Lee Lawrie

Indiana Limestone Relief

Las Casas Pleads for the Indian by Lee Lawrie

About this piece

In this relief, Bartolomé de Las Casas stands in the center facing toward the throne on the left side of the relief. In the throne sits Charles V and next to him his wife, Isabella. Behind Las Casas stands a native man holding a stick.

Bartolomé de Las Casas fought for the rights of Indians and argued that they deserved to be granted the same rights as Europeans.

The exterior reliefs of the Capitol depict the history of western civilization. The Nebraska State Capitol is clad in Indiana Limestone.

About Lee Lawrie

Lee Lawrie

Lee Lawrie was born in Germany in 1877 and came to America with his family four years later. As a young boy, he sketched the world around him and it became apparent he had great artistic talent. His first formal job as an artist came at 14 when he was hired in a sculptor’s studio to do odd jobs. It was at this job he taught himself how to model clay in the evenings. He would eventually attend Yale where he earned a bachelor’s of fine arts. He stayed at Yale where he taught until 1919.

Lawrie and Bertram Goodhue met in the late 1800s when the two began collaborating on various projects. Lawrie specialized in architectural sculpture, which was a direct compliment to Goodhue’s appreciation of early Gothic revival designs. The two would achieve a breakthrough in their approach during the construction of the Nebraska State Capitol. They created an approach that fused architecture and sculpture into an integrated and simple design.

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