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Isabella Wolff

A light-skinned woman in a long, shiny white dress sits at a desk reading a book. The book is propped on a large red pillow. Her head is propped in her hand.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A light-skinned woman in a long, shiny white dress sits at a desk reading a book. The book is propped on a large red pillow. Her head is propped in her hand.

Date:

1803/15

Artist:

Sir Thomas Lawrence
English, 1769-1830

About this artwork

Produced over the course of 12 years, this portrait depicts Isabella Wolff, one of Sir Thomas Lawrence’s most intimate friends, contemplating a printed image of the Delphic Sibyl from Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel ceiling. Wolff’s serpentine pose cleverly echoes another Sibyl from that same work. The Sibyls were priestesses of Classical legend who made enigmatic judgments and prophecies. They were often pictured according to Western fantasies of the Near East, hence Wolff’s elaborate turban here. Lawrence was famed for his ability to evoke the surface effects and textures of clothing; that talent is on full display in Wolff’s shimmering satin gown.

Status

On View, Gallery 220

Department

Painting and Sculpture of Europe

Artist

Sir Thomas Lawrence

Title

Isabella Wolff

Place

England (Artist's nationality)

Date

1803–1815

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

128.2 × 102.4 cm (50 1/2 × 40 5/16 in.)

Credit Line

Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kimball Collection

Reference Number

1922.4461

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/4773/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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