The Cult of the Renaissance
The Anglo-Saxon colony had a special devotion to the Renaissance, shown by Sargent's youthful study of Michelangelo's Night, which highlights the subject's popularity in American artistic and literary circles. The Renaissance myth fuelled by the studies of William Roscoe, the pioneering work of John Ruskin and the popularity of Walter Scott's novels, caused the city's transatlantic visitors to see it as a goal of aesthetic and literary adventure.
The sentimental travellers could admire the most outstanding works of the Renaissance in the city's museums, appreciate its buildings' stern solemnity evoking past glories, and find a perfect blend of functionality and beauty in even the simplest object produced by the city's artisans. Moreover, as of 1896 they would have a book that was to prove crucial to the rediscovery of the Renaissance: American art critic Bernard Berenson's The Florentine Painters of the Renaissance.
John Singer Sargent (Firenze 1856-London 1925)
watercolour and graphite on white wove paper
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond
George de Forest Brush (Tennessee 1855-Hanover 1941)
In the Garden
oil on canvas mounted on zinc plate
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of George A. Hearn
Elizabeth Lyman Boott Duveneck (Cambridge 1846-Paris 1888)
Floral Still Life with Roses and Lyre
oil on canvas
Newport, William Vareika Fine Arts Ltd