Portrait of Miss Moffat1826
Stories of women, jewels, and pearls, popular when this painting was first exhibited in 1826 in London, help to explain this enigmatic portrait. Pearls were especially associated with purity; in classical myth, they were believed to be the droplets of water that Venus, the goddess of love, shook from herself when she was born out of the sea. Thinking of ancient Rome, a viewer might have recalled the story of Cornelia, who when asked to show off her jewels, virtuously pointed to her children. Shee, a fashionable portrait painter, chose his subjects from the worlds of the theatre and high society. Although the sitter is identified only as Miss Moffat, this portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy (no. 72) in London in 1826. Four years later, Shee was elected president of the Academy.
- H: 36 1/8 x W: 28 1/8 in. (91.8 x 71.5 cm)
- oil on canvas
- Courtesy of the Walters Art Museum
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