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Minerva in a Chariot
ca. 1894
oil
96.7 x 136.4 cm
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly



Thayer worked on three mural commissions in 1894 and 1895. Only one, Florence Protecting the Arts, at Bowdoin College in Maine, was completed. For both the Boston Public Library and the Library of Congress he proposed depicting Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and the arts. Seen horizontally, this painting was probably a study for the Boston mural. Seen vertically, the angel-like figure underneath Minerva was likely a study for the Washington panel.