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The Awakening (sculpture)

Coordinates: 38°47′6″N 77°1′1″W / 38.78500°N 77.01694°W / 38.78500; -77.01694
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38°47′6″N 77°1′1″W / 38.78500°N 77.01694°W / 38.78500; -77.01694

The statue at its current location on a man-made beach along the Potomac River at National Harbor, Maryland.

The Awakening (1980) is a 72-foot (22 m) statue by J. Seward Johnson, Jr. that depicts a giant embedded in the earth, struggling to free himself. It is located at National Harbor in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, just outside Washington, D.C.[1]


The statue consists of five separate aluminum pieces buried in the ground, giving the impression of a distressed giant attempting to free himself from the ground. The left hand and right foot barely protrude, while the bent left leg and knee jut into the air. The 17-foot (5.2 m) high right arm and hand reach farther out of the ground. The bearded face, with the mouth in mid-scream, struggles to emerge from the earth.[1]


The Awakening at its former location at Hains Point, Washington, D.C.

The Awakening was created by J. Seward Johnson, Jr. in 1980 as part of Washington, DC's 11th annual Sculpture Conference, and the sculpture was originally installed at Hains Point in East Potomac Park, Washington, D.C.. Hains Point was designated by Congress as the site for a National Peace Garden in 1987. Although no work had started on the National Peace Garden for many years, the decision still prompted the eventual sale of the sculpture by its owner, The Sculpture Foundation.

Real estate developer Milton Peterson purchased the sculpture for over $700,000 in 2007 for installation at his new National Harbor development in Maryland. Crews removed The Awakening from Hains Point in February 2008 for its move to National Harbor. At the National Harbor development, the sculpture was installed on a specially built beach along the Potomac River.[2][3][4]

The Awakening II[edit]

Seward Johnson created a copy of The Awakening, which was unveiled in Chesterfield, Missouri on October 10, 2009. The sculpture is located adjacent to Chesterfield Central Park, near the intersection of Chesterfield Parkway and Park Circle Drive to the west of Chesterfield Mall. The installation of the sculpture in Chesterfield was commissioned by Chesterfield Arts, which is a non-profit arts organization supporting public art and the visual, performing and literary arts in Chesterfield and the West County. $1 million in funding was provided by Sachs Properties.[5][6]

Il Risveglio[edit]

A fiberglass copy of The Awakening, also made by Seward Johnson, has been exhibited in at least three places in Italy, [7] where it is called Il Risveglio. It was installed there first in April 2009 on Piazza Duomo (Cathedral Square) on the island of Ortygia, the historic, old part of Syracuse, Sicily at the time of some G8 meetings in Italy.[8] In December of that year, it was moved to the EUR district of Rome, in connection with a commemoration of twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was installed next to an obelisk in the Piazza Guglielmo Marconi. Finally, in May of 2011, it was installed in Viterbo in the Valle di Faul Park.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Awakening, (sculpture)". Art Inventories Catalog. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  2. ^ The Washington Post
  3. ^ "The Hains Point Hand: Stealing Away A Public Treasure – Raw Fisher". voices.washingtonpost.com.
  4. ^ Abruzzese, Sarah (December 29, 2007). "After 27 Years, a Popular Sculpture Moves From a National Park Into Private Hands". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  5. ^ Shapiro, Mary. "Chesterfield: Sculptures throughout city grab viewers' attention". STLtoday.com.
  6. ^ "Sachs donates $1M sculpture to Chesterfield". St. Louis Business Journal. St. Louis, MO. 4 August 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  7. ^ Ferrarri, Benedetta (2017-04-22). "Il "Risveglio" e la sua rinascita grazie a Viterbo Civica". Etruria News (in Italian). JPM INTERNATIONAL SRL. Retrieved 2021-09-12.
  8. ^ In fact, the G8 summit in 2009 was held in L'Aquila, Abruzzo in July. Ahead of that, G8 environment ministers met in Syracuse in April, to prepare talking points. "Environment Ministers define G8 talking points". Italy Magazine. Edgardtown, MA. 2009-04-25. Retrieved 2021-09-12.

External links[edit]

Media related to The Awakening (sculpture) at Wikimedia Commons