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A Capriote

John Singer Sargent1878

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In 1878, Sargent traveled to the Italian island of Capri in search of exotic scenery to use in his subject pictures. Many of the works he produced there feature the popular local model Rosina Ferrara, who was admired for her blue-black hair and olive skin. In A Capriote, Sargent painted Ferrara in the midst of an olive grove, with her arms twined around a tree, echoing its twisted shape. By using this contrived pose and depicting her striking features in profile, Sargent made his model seem to be an elemental part of the wild Capri landscape.

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