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Painting Religion in Public: John Singer Sargent's Triumph of Religion at the Boston Public Library. [Paperback]

By Sally M. Promey (Author)
Our Price $ 29.75  
Retail Value $ 35.00  
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Item Number 151075  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   376
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 10.85" Width: 8.47" Height: 0.77"
Weight:   2.96 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2001
Publisher   Princeton University Press
ISBN  0691089507  
EAN  9780691089508  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...

A brilliant painter of society portraits, John Singer Sargent also devoted many years at the height of his career to a project of an entirely different order: an ambitious, multi-media decoration titled "Triumph of Religion" (1890-1919) for the Boston Public Library. The library cycle Sargent imagined as his most important work, however, would ultimately remain unfinished, quietly abandoned in the face of religious opposition, one critical painting short of completion. Truncation dramatically altered possible readings of "Triumph," redirecting its narrative energies and generating new meanings in tension with the idea Sargent had proposed. In "Painting Religion in Public," Sally Promey tells the story of an artist of international stature and the complex and consuming pictorial program he pursued in Boston. Highly celebrated in its day, with individual panels retaining immense popularity even in the years of discord, this artistic project and its constituent images tell us much about broad cultural and political exchanges concerning the public representation of religious content in the United States.

Sargent's library decoration attracted the attention of multiple audiences and engaged concurrent debates about class, race, art, and religion. Representatives of various religious and cultural backgrounds hailed portions of the cycle as indicative of the strength of their own positions, and reproductions of the images appeared in everything from books and encyclopedias to stained glass and public pageantry. Promey analyzes the conception and production of the cycle, persuasively demonstrating that "Triumph of Religion," far from promoting a narrowly sectarian version of religious practice, represented instead Sargent's public recommendation of the privacy of modern belief. The artist recast contemporary religion as spirituality, she argues, linking it not with institutions and dogma but with personal subjectivity. For Sargent, this ideal was a sign of Western, especially American, progress. Carefully reconstructing patterns of reception in an increasingly diverse religious climate, and exploring the extent and character of Sargent's personal and artistic investment, Promey boldly illuminates the work Sargent hoped to make his masterpiece. At the same time, she enriches understanding of religious images in public places and popular imagination.

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More About Sally M. Promey

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Promey is Associate Professor of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland.

Sally M. Promey currently resides in the state of Maryland. Sally M. Promey was born in 1953 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Maryland.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > General   [6341  similar products]
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4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Artists, A-Z > ( S-U ) > Sargent, John Singer   [6  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
FABULOUS!!!  Apr 3, 2006
This book is absolutely brilliant. A previous reviewer expressed their disappointment with the lack of images. I would first like to point out that a lack of images is no reason to give the book only one star, especially considering that they were able to recognize the fact that Promey is the first to write a book on what the reviewer conceded is "a basically unpublished subject." As for the reviewer's claim that this book is only suitable for the Art Historian, I would just like to say that I read this book when I was 13, and still managed to find it thoroughly interesting and engaging. Perhaps the reviewer's need for more pretty pictures than the author (wisely) chose to include is an indicator of a lack of education and imagination on their part rather than a lack of judgment on hers.
Sargent at the Boston Public Library  May 11, 2001
Although lacking in adequate color plates as expressed by a previous reviewer, this text is wonderful in its description of the history of the mural which took Sargent 30 years and was never completed probably because of the controversy arising out of how religion was viewed in public in 1919, a change from when Sargent started it in 1890. The book describes the history of the mural in the context of its time of diverse social, cultural and religious matters. After viewing the actual mural at the Boston Public Library, where it is, unfortunately, covered with dirt but is being restored and cleaned, one will be overwhelmed with this painting and find the book extremely interesting and full of important historical information, as well as understand why this mural is considered one of the most important pieces of public art.
Fascinating!  Jan 25, 2000
Promey leads the reader on an insightful exploration of Sargent's artistic and spiritual investment in _Triumph of Religion_. This book has changed the way I look at religious art in public places.
Terrific!  Jan 13, 2000
A fascinating book -- a major contribution to the history of American visual culture! This is a Sargent I hadn't seen before! The wealth of visual material in Promey's book (works of art, preparatory sketches and studies, photographs, prints, cartoons) provides testimony that Sargent's art was deeply informed by the culture of its time. It was also, as Promey shows, responsive to the artist's own intellectual and personal commitments. Highly recommended!
Great book! Compellingly narrated, beautifully illustrated  Jan 5, 2000
This is a convincing, original, and highly readable book. I've seen Sargent's Boston Public Library murals--now obscured by dirt and grime--many times. It was a real treat to see them in Promey's book, restored to their initial splendor. (I look forward to their scheduled restoration too.) I read this book because the Boston Globe art critic called it a "dazzling must-read." And she was right!

Write your own review about Painting Religion in Public: John Singer Sargent's Triumph of Religion at the Boston Public Library.

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