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Portrait of a Gentleman

ca. 1845 Unidentified watercolor on ivory sight 3 3/8 x 2 5/8 in. (8.6 x 6.7 cm) rectangle Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Catherine Walden Myer Fund 1963.9.8 Not currently on view


Luce Center Label

In this miniature the sitter’s blue eyes and gentle facial features emphasize a calm composure and intelligence. His combed-over hairstyle reveals his forehead, suggesting his desire to be perceived as honest and intelligent. According to “phrenologists,” who examined the shapes of skulls, specific characteristics of a person’s nature were communicated through the features of the head.

Keywords

Portrait male - unidentified - bust

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor

ivory