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Life Study (Study of an Egyptian Girl)

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

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.


On View, Gallery 175


Arts of the Americas


John Singer Sargent


Life Study (Study of an Egyptian Girl)


Egypt (Place depicted)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Signed, upper right: "John S. Sargent"


190.5 × 61 cm (75 × 24 in.)

Credit Line

Anonymous loan

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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