Sargent’s original commission at the new Museum of Fine Arts specified that he would decorate only the three lunettes above the doorways in the Museum’s rotunda, which he planned to fill with designs in bas-relief (low-relief sculpture). He soon found the spaces too small—and bas-relief an unsatisfactory medium—for his ambitious designs. He then proposed covering over the ceiling coffers in the rotunda’s dome. The increased surface area that resulted enabled Sargent to create a more complex program that included eight paintings, twelve reliefs, and a great deal of architectural ornament.
View of the rotunda
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
ca. 1909
The Triumph of Religion