Dec 19, 2006

Artist with His Palette and Brushes

Artist with His Palette and Brushes

c. 1855

Daguerreotype, sixth-plate

Image: 8.3 x 7 cm (3 1/4 x 2 3/4 in.); Case: 9.5 x 8.3 x 2.5 cm (3 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 1 in.); Matted: 61 x 50.8 cm (24 x 20 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 2002.36



This unidentified photographer created a disarmingly personal portrait of a painter holding the tools of his craft. Skillfully lit, the composition achieves a surprising amount of spontaneity and animation. The generous natural illumination of the studio clearly defines the volume of the figure. Perhaps to acknowledge the painter's flamboyant personality, the photographer enriched the portrait by adding hand-applied color to the sitter's large bow tie. The elaborately designed fez, placed at a jaunty angle atop the painter's head, suggests his interest in Orientalism, a fashion that fascinated many mid 19th-century artists.

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