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John Valentine Haidt
Young Moravian Girl
about 1755–60
30 3/8 x 25 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the American Art Forum

This girl's flushed cheeks, bright eyes, and graceful gestures hint at a vibrant personality. The artist, who was a lay preacher and painter in the Moravian community, also delights in rendering details of her traditional costume—from the pointed waistline to the elegantly slit sleeves. The Moravians were a communal society that began in the fifteenth century in Moravia and Bohemia, which today are parts of the Czech Republic. Many Moravians settled in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. This work is a reminder of the search for religious freedom that led many to migrate to America.