Search this blog

Friday, 3 December 2010

Artwork of the day

The daughters of Edward Darley Boit, John Singer Sargent, 1882, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Art, Boston

A painting I personally adore for the simplicity of its arrangement, the tenderness of its theme and the ability of the artist to show the viewers bits of character traits of the girls he represented. 
Sargent was a celebrated portraitist of the 19th century and his ability to portray both the outer and inner world of his sitters is compared only to the skill of Diego Velasquez. Indeed this painting has often been compared to Velasquez's famous painting Las Meninas
The 4 girls are presented posing in the interior of their house, a space they are obviously familiar with. But at the same time they show familiarity with the artist himself to the point that the painting looks like a snap shot. What is interesting is that the two eldest girls, in their early teens at the time, are almost hidden in the background. One avoids all eye contact and we can hardy see part of her face. On the contrary the youngest girls seem more eager to engage with the viewer / visitor, probably a sign of their childhood innocence. 
Natasha Wallace discusses the future of the 4 girls, explaining that the two eldest have suffered from emotional and mental problems for all their adult lives (
I have not been able yet to find more evidence about this, however if it is correct, then Sargent was not only able to show characterics of their age, but also to capture their distinct personalities.

No comments:

Post a Comment