John Singer Sargent was born on January 12, 1856, in Florence, Italy, to Fitzwilliam and Mary Newbold Singer Sargent, American expatriates from Philadelphia. The family, including John and his two sisters, Emily (b. 1857) and Violet (b. 1870), traveled constantly throughout Europe, staying in rented accommodations and seeing the sights. Mrs. Sargent was an amateur painter, and both parents encouraged their son’s early artistic endeavors. John’s childhood friend Violet Paget (later known as author Vernon Lee) remembers John borrowing her watercolor paintbox as a child of ten.
Self-Portrait Caricature, detail
Blue-black ink on paper
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums
The Triumph of Religion