© Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston and the President and Fellows of Harvard College

This web site was produced by the Straus Center for Conservation at the Harvard University Art Museums. The restoration project and the site have been made possible in part by a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.

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Project directors:
Henry Lie
Director
Straus Center for Conservation
Harvard University Art Museums

Bernard Margolis
President
Boston Public Library
Concept and development:
Ron Spronk
Associate Curator for Research
Straus Center for Conservation
Harvard University Art Museums
Concept, design, production, and programming:
Robin Marlowe
studioROMA
Content coordination and project management:
Kathleen Kennelly
Department Assistant
Straus Center for Conservation
Harvard University Art Museums

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Restoration project coordination and management:
Gianfranco Pocobene
Paintings Conservator
Straus Center for Conservation
Harvard University Art Museums

Authors:
Mary Crawford Volk
Art Historian and Author
History of the commission,
Portraits in the Prophets, Sources and inspiration, Sargent’s other murals: Harvard University

Sally Promey
Professor of Art History and Archaeology
University of Maryland
Controversy, Description and interpretation,
Legacy

Kerry Schauber
Research Associate
Department of Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts
Fogg Art Museum
Harvard University Art Museums
Biography, Preparatory Studies

Carol Troyen
John Moors Cabot Curator of Paintings
American Art Department
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Sargent’s other murals: MFA Boston

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Straus Center for Conservation
Harvard University Art Museums:

Angela Chang
Assistant Objects Conservator
Restoration

Teri Hensick
Paintings Conservator
Restoration

Philip Klausmeyer
Associate Paintings Conservator
Restoration

Nancy Lloyd
Objects Conservator
Creation of the Crucifix

Kate Smith Maurer
Assistant Paintings Conservator
Restoration

Katherine Olivier
Senior Paintings Conservator
Scale models

Gianfranco Pocobene
Paintings Conservator
Restoration

Project coordination:
Straus Center for Conservation
Harvard University Art Museums

Kate Smith Maurer
Assistant Paintings Conservator

Gianfranco Pocobene
Paintings Conservator

Miriam Stewart
Assistant Curator of Drawings
Fogg Art Museum
Harvard University Art Museums

Text editing:
Jennifer Barber
Copy editor

Miriam Stewart
Assistant Curator of Drawings
Fogg Art Museum
Harvard University Art Museums

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Straus Center for Conservation
Harvard University Art Museums:

Angela Chang
Assistant Objects Conservator

Philip Klausmeyer
Associate Paintings Conservator

Kate Smith Maurer
Assistant Paintings Conservator

Gianfranco Pocobene
Paintings Conservator

Image preparation:
Robin Marlowe
studioROMA

Harvard University Art Museums:

Adam Kellie
Imaging Specialist

Kate Smith Maurer
Assistant Paintings Conservator
Straus Center for Conservation

Ruxandra Stoicescu
Paintings Intern
Straus Center for Conservation

Photo documentation:
Bill Kipp
Freelance Photographer

Restoration Project Conservators:
Straus Center for Conservation
Harvard University Art Museums

Angela Chang
Assistant Objects Conservator

Teri Hensick
Paintings Conservator

Philip Klausmeyer
Associate Paintings Conservator

Kate Smith Maurer
Assistant Paintings Conservator

Kim Muir
Paintings Intern

Katherine Olivier
Senior Paintings Conservator

Gianfranco Pocobene
Paintings Conservator
Restoration Project Manager

Ruxandra Stoicescu
Paintings Intern

Quicktime panoramas:
Sametz Blackstone Associates

Technical examinations:
Straus Center for Conservation Harvard University Art Museums:

Glenn Gates
Andrew W. Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow in Conservation Science

Narayan Khandekar
Senior Conservation Scientist

Philip Klausmeyer
Associate Paintings Conservator

Grant administration:
Susan Clarke
Director of Development
Boston Public Library Foundation

Katherine Dibble
Director of Public Services
Boston Public Library

Rebecca Wright
Manager of Grants and Traveling Exhibitions
Harvard University Art Museums

We further thank:
Boston Public Library: Jan Chadbourne, Carolyn Coulter, Katherine Dibble, John Dorsey, Christine Peterson, Marie Pettibone, Nicola Sarn, and Karen Shafts

Building Conservation Associates: Brian Powell

John Canning Studios

Harvard University Art Museums: James Cuno, Michael Dumas, Becky Hunt, Adam Kellie, Anthony Sigel, and the Digital Imaging and Visual Resources Department

Lee Kennedy Company, Inc.

Peace River Studios: Matt McMakin

Sametz Blackstone Associates

Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson, and Abbott

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Additional label information

Unless otherwise noted, all works depicted are by John Singer Sargent.
History of the commission
Screen 6

Dogma of the Redemption, 1895–1903
Oil on panel, with paper additions and cast plaster, 228.6 x 256.5 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Gift of Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs. Francis Ormond, in memory of their brother, John Singer Sargent (through Thomas A. Fox, Esq.)

Screen 9

John Singer Sargent, Edward Robinson, 1903
Oil on canvas, 143.5 x 92.1 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,
Gift of Mrs. Edward Robinson, 1931
(31.60) Photograph © 1998 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Screen 10

Study for “Crucifix,” Boston Public Library, ca. 1899
Bronze on wood, 111.76 x 76.2 x 8.89 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop

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Description and interpretation
Screen 52

1. Michelangelo Buonarroti, Prophet Jeremiah,
1509–10, Fresco, Sistine Ceiling, Vatican, Rome

2. Study for “Israel and the Law
Charcoal on paper, 47.5 x 62.5 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond

Screen 65

Study for “Sermon on the Mount
Graphite on paper, 26.2 x 41.1 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Gift of Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs. Francis Ormond, in memory of their brother, John Singer Sargent (through Thomas A. Fox, Esq.)

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Sources and inspiration
Screen 3

1. Pagan Gods, detail of head of Astarte
(1999 photo)

2. Kore 674, Acropolis Museum, Athens, 1891
Graphite on paper, 25 x 17.7 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond, 1950
(50.130.143bb) Photograph, all rights reserved,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Screen 7

1. Frieze of Angels, detail of angels on the left (1999 photo)

2. Angels, Mosaic, Palatine Chapel, Palermo, 1897
Watercolor, gouache, and graphite, 25 x 35.5 cm,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond, 1950 (50.130.83f)
Photograph © 1999 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Screen 8

1. Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Amor Caritas, 1880–98
Gilded bronze relief, 262.3 x 127 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1918 (19.124)
Photograph by Jerry Thompson
© 1985 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

2. Frieze of Angels, detail (1999 photo)

Screen 10

1. Study of Two Draped Women, 1891–95
Charcoal on paper, 25.4 x 34.4 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs. Francis Ormond in memory of their brother, John Singer Sargent

2. Mysteries of the Rosary, detail of Annunciation
(1999 photo)

Screen 11

1. Seated Men, 1905–6
Graphite on paper, 21.9 x 29.2 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond, 1950 (50.130.113v)
Photograph, all rights reserved, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

2. Israel and the Law, detail (1999 photo)

Preparatory studies
Screen 2

1. Study for the Assyrian King in “Israelites Oppressed”
Graphite on paper, 24.6 x 17.6 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond

2. Israelites Oppressed, detail of Assyrian king
(1999 photo)

Screen 3

1. Coiled Serpent
Graphite on paper, 21.5 x 25.6 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond

2. Mysteries of the Rosary, detail of serpent (1999 photo)

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Screen 6

1. Study for Angel in “Israel and the Law”, detail
Charcoal on paper, 62.3 x 46.3
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond
(1999 photo)

2. Israel and the Law, detail of angel
(1999 photo)

3. Arms, for Angel in “Israel and the Law”, detail
Charcoal on paper, 61.6 x 47.1 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond
(1999 photo)

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Screen 7

1. Beatrice Stuart
Charcoal on paper, 62 x 47 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond

2. Israel and the Law, detail of angel
(1999 photo)

Screen 8

Study for the Prophet Joel, detail
Charcoal on paper, 36.7 x 25.3 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond

2. Frieze of Prophets, detail of Joel
(1999 photo)

Screen 9

1. Studies of Pheasant Wings, detail
Charcoal and graphite on paper, 61.8 x 47.6 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond

2. Israel and the Law, detail of angels (1999 photo)

Scale models
Screen 2

The completed model; note the chains attaching plaster sections to the studio ceiling and the moveable framework supporting the assembled sections.
Visual Collections, Fine Arts Library,
Harvard University

Screen 3

1. Plain wooden section, west wall; the open rectangular space in the lower section represents the opening for the Library’s elevator
Harvard University Art Museums Archives

2. Plaster panel for section above Judgment lunette
Visual Collections, Fine Arts Library,
Harvard University

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Screen 4

1. Dogma of the Redemption, model
Oil on wood, with paper additions and cast plaster,
228.6 x 256.5 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Miss Emily Sargent

2. Dogma of the Redemption (1999 photo)

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Screen 8

1. Mysteries of the Rosary, model, Joyful Mysteries
Oil on wood with relief elements

2. Mysteries of the Rosary, model, Sorrowful Mysteries
Oil on wood with relief elements

Harvard University Art Museums Archives

Screen 10

1. Fall of Gog and Magog, model
Oil and canvas affixed to board, 84.1 x 168.9 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Miss Emily Sargent

2. Heaven, model
Oil on canvas with applied cloth and guilding
84.5 x 168.2 cm
Smith College Museum of Art,
Northampton, Massachusetts,
Gift of Mrs. Dwight W. Morrow
(Elizabeth Cutter, Class of 1896), 1932

Screen 12

1. Plaster section including Judgment lunette, model, hanging from studio ceiling

2. Plaster section, model, attached to studio wall

3. Messianic Era and Church, model, east wall
All photographs: Visual Collections
Fine Arts Library, Harvard University

Creation of the Crucifix
Screen 6

Medallion at foot of crucifix, early model
Gold-painted plaster, 13.4 x 17.9 x 1.9 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs. Francis Ormond in memory of their brother, John Singer Sargent (through Thomas A. Fox, Esq.)

Screen 7

Crucifix, model, ca. 1899
Painted and gilt plaster with wire support
72 x 79 x 8.5 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs. Francis Ormond in memory of their brother, John Singer Sargent (through Thomas A. Fox, Esq.)

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Screen 8

Study for “Crucifix,” Boston Public Library, ca. 1899
Bronze on wood, 111.76 x 76.2 x 8.89 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop

Portraits in the Prophets
Screen 7

Left: Frieze of Prophets, detail of Amos
(1999 photo)
Right: Sketch of an Arab, ca. 1890–91
Graphite on paper, 34 x 25.2 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Gift of Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs. Violet Ormond in memory of their brother

Controversy
Screen 11

Gassed, 1918–19
Oil on canvas, 231 x 611.1 cm
Imperial War Museum, London (The Art Archive)

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Legacy
Screen 3

Reproduction of Frieze of Prophets
in a specially manufactured frame
Cosmos Pictures Company, New York
Private Collection

Screen 10

Photo assemblage of figural groups (out of order)
from “Ministering of the Gift” pageant,
Richmond, Virginia
From Good Housekeeping Magazine, August 1913

Biography
Screen 5

The Dancing Faun, after the Antique, 1873–74
Black chalk and charcoal on paper, 76.6 x 49.9 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond

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Screen 8

Mrs. Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, ca. 1897
Graphite on paper, 24 x 15.1 cm (sketchbook page)
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond

Screen 13

Study for “Crucifix,” Boston Public Library, ca. 1899
Bronze on wood, 111.76 x 76.2 x 8.89 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop

Sargent’s Harvard murals
Screen 4

1. Study of a Hand Clasping a Sword, 1921-22
Charcoal on paper, 47.9 x 63.2 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs. Francis Ormond in memory of their brother, John Singer Sargent

2. Entering the War, detail

Screen 5

1. Study for “Victory”, 1921-22
Charcoal on paper, 63 x 48.2 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Gift of Grenville L. Winthrop
photo: The Boston Athenaeum, John Singer Sargent-Thomas A. Fox Papers

2. Death and Victory, detail

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The Triumph of Religion