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My Interpretation Monday: A Venetian Woman, by Chelsea Baker

by CAM Social Media


My Interpretation Monday , social media , interpretation , Chelsea Baker , in the galleries , John Singer Sargent , American Painting & Sculpture

We’ve asked Cincinnati Art Museum lovers to send us thoughts and feelings about an artwork at the Art Museum! Each week, we feature one interpretation here on our blog. This week,  Chelsea Baker takes a look at John Singer Sargent’s  A Venetian Woman.
Share your interpretation on CAM’s blog! Send your #MyInterpretationMondayto [email protected] and we will feature your perspective on an upcoming Monday!*

I’ve never considered myself a big fan of traditional portraiture. Many of the works, especially those commissioned by wealthy patrons, have such a stiffness about them that it’s difficult to imagine the subject as ever being a real living and breathing human. The informal works of John Singer Sargent are the exception for me. Sargent’s 1882 painting A Venetian Woman has the power to literally stop me in my tracks whenever I pass it. She currently resides on the second floor of the Cincinnati Art Museum — on the wall directly across from the elevator. It’s a very fitting location. When the elevator doors open, her playful half-smile greets you with a sort of mystery and intrigue that demands a closer look. It feels like you’re looking through a doorway—transported to a dusty 19th century alley in Venice— instead of at an actual painting. When you look at A Venetian Woman you want to know more about her— who she is, where she’s going, what she’s holding in her hands. A Venetian Woman might not receive as much attention as Sargent’s more famous works like Madame X or Lady Agnew, but it’s just as captivating and a true stand-out in the Art Museum’s collection.

*We may not be able to post all entries we receive due to volume of entries and/or copyright restrictions

Image Credit: John Singer Sargent, (American, b. 1856, d. 1925); A Venetian Woman, 1882; oil on canvas; The Edwin and Virginia Irwin Memorial 1972.37