The American painter John Singer Sargent was born in Florence, Italy, and grew up in the cultural capitals of Europe, thanks to his parents, who left Philadelphia for a nomadic, expatriate life abroad. Exposed to European art and culture from birth, Sargent attended art schools wherever he was living and developed into a consummate cosmopolitan, evident in his portrait commissions of social elites, first in Paris and then in England and the United States.
Can you imagine a day in this woman’s life?
Sargent’s glittering, life-sized society portrait of Caroline de Bassano, Marquise d’Espeuilles, was designed to register her position in society as a titled aristocrat and an arbiter of decorum and taste. However, in place of the imposing setting usually referenced in grand-manner portraiture, Sargent isolated the marquise in an undefined space, perhaps in order to subvert convention and render her beauty as timeless.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd