Italian marble by Nathaniel Choate
A man is seated on the back of an alligator, his legs gathered under him. With his left hand he grasps the jaw, and his right arm curves around the tail, bending the creature's body in a circle. His powerful muscles are contracted, and the radiating lines of the arms and legs are contrasted with the curving frame of the alligator. The patterning of the scales adds a decorative note. A small group was originally carved in mahogany at New York about 1926. In enlarging it, the sculptor made it heavier and the man more robust to look like a Seminole Indian. He took the half-size model to Querceta, near Carrara, Italy, in the spring of 1937, carving it in marble during the summer and autumn.
Born in Southboro, Massachusetts, on December 26th, 1899
He studied art and painting while in school, and after graduating in 1922, went to Paris to continue his study of painting, working at the Colarossi and Delecluse academies. He also traveled in Italy and considered becoming a portrait painter or a mural decorator, but after a visit to Greece in 1924 decided to make sculpture with John Wilson. In 1927 he returned to Europe, staying there, with only short visits home, until 1930. He then tried living in NY but soon went to Italy to be near the marble quarries.