John Singer Sargent painted this beautiful and dreamlike scene while residing at Broadway, a quaint English country town turned creative colony. According to the description Sargent, Portraits of Artists and Friends, this painting expresses several of the styles that Sargent was interested in at the time – French Impressionism, Pre-Raphaelitism, Aestheticism, and Japonisme – as well as numerous literary, musical, and symbolic references (p. . The scene was elaborately staged by Sargent and his Broadway friends over a period of several months, and the models were daughters of his friends. The finished image looks like it belongs in a fairy tale or book of children’s poems. The glow from the paper lanterns gives in a magical air.
Source: Kilmurray, Elaine. “Sargent in Broadway, 1885-9” in Ormond, Richard et al. Sargent, Portraits of Artists and Friends. New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2015. P. 87-118.
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