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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 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 16A, Drawer 8

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.


Portrait male - unidentified - bust

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor