Yonward Spotlights: Mary Dyer

Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 by Meghan Barton 

From "Art Around the State House" by the Boston Art Commission

This sculpture commemorates Mary Dyer, who sacrificed her life for the right to religious freedom. Like her friend Anne Hutchinson, who is also commemorated with a sculpture on this Art Walk, Dyer challenged traditional Puritanism with her progressive beliefs. Governor John Winthrop repeatedly exiled Dyer from Massachusetts, but she returned to the colony nevertheless to visit imprisoned friends and protest her sentence. In 1660, she was hanged on the Boston Common for refusing to repent her supposedly heretical views. 

The sculptor Sylvia Shaw Judson - the author of The Quiet Eye: A Way of Looking at Pictures and herself a Quaker - has depicted Dyer in a reserved pose with no adornment. These qualities echo the value Quakers place on simplicity in speech, dress, and other aspects of everyday life.