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John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925):
A Balustrade

A395; oil on canvas; 55 x 71 cm.

Presented by the artist's sisters, Mrs Ormond and Miss Emily Sargent, 1929; WA1929.7.

Robertson 2003, pp. 184-5.

The balustrade leads to the front door of the church of SS Domenico e Sisto in Rome. During his visits to Italy, Sargent sought relief from painting portraits and turned to landscapes, both in oils and watercolours. The artist described this as 'a study of a magnificent curved staircase and balustrade, leading to a grand façade that would reduce a millionaire to a worm'. He later used the study for the background to a portrait of Charles E. Eliot, President of Harvard University (Harvard).

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Information derived from the Ashmolean Museum's Complete Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings.