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Une Martyre (Saint Thechla)

1891 Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1847 Died: Brighton, England 1906 oil on canvas 29 1/2 x 21 1/2 in. (74.9 x 54.6 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Richard Ball Dodson 1923.8.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 7B


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Une Martyre (Saint Thechla)
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Luce Center Label

Many of Sarah Dodson’s paintings were inspired by religious or mythological subjects. This image shows Saint Thechla (or Thecla), who converted to Christianity and renounced marriage after hearing a sermon by the Apostle Paul. Her family and fiancé condemned her disobedience, and Thecla was cast to her fate among lions and poisonous snakes. Nothing could harm the girl, however, and she was eventually set free. This idea of a young, confident girl following her own path regardless of other people’s expectations evokes Dodson’s own life, as she struggled to establish herself as a professional painter.

Keywords

Object - foliage - palm

Religion - martyr

Religion - saint - St. Thechla

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson

Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1847 Died: Brighton, England 1906

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Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson