About this artwork
John Singer Sargent traveled to Egypt in 1891 in search of source material for a mural commission for the Boston Public Library. Like many 19th-century Western European artists, he was drawn to the Middle East by the region’s perceived exoticism and its ancient histories. The identity of the woman who posed in Cairo for this full-length figure study is not known. She assumes a complicated posture, placing her weight on her right foot while twisting her upper body to the left. Instead of using the bravura painterly style of swift, visible brushstrokes that characterizes his society portraits, Sargent returned to his academic training, carefully modeling the human form and a range of flesh tones. Life Study was widely exhibited, including at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
- John Singer Sargent
- Life Study (Study of an Egyptian Girl)
- Oil on canvas
- Signed, upper right: "John S. Sargent"
- 190.5 × 61 cm (75 × 24 in.)
- Anonymous loan