Watercolor on ivory in a 19th-century stamped gold and gilt metal frame
Diameter: 7.3 cm (2 7/8 in.); Diameter of frame: 9.3 cm (3 11/16 in.)
The Edward B. Greene Collection 1942.1139
We do not know the identity of this elegantly dressed woman who plays a sonata on the harpsichord. There are two copies of this miniature that are attributed to other artists (Peter Adolphe Hall and Marie Christine Campana), and both identify the sitter as Sophie Arnould, a highly acclaimed French soprano. Dumont was fond of using objects in the space around the sitter to express her character—a common practice in portraits—so it is possible that this woman was a musician. To play a musical instrument well was considered an essential feminine accomplishment for an aristocratic woman during the eighteenth century, and like her fashionable dress, communicates the sitter's grace and charm to the viewer. This miniature was probably painted around 1788, on the eve of the French revolution, and the year that Sophie retired from the stage at the age of 48. Unknown sitters are oftentimes later identified as persons who were well-known or fashionable during the period when the work was painted, and it is difficult to know conclusively.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email email@example.com.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.