Fumee d’Ambre Gris by John Singer Sargent (1880)

You might have noticed my partiality to Sargent’s portraits. This one is different, however.

While this definitely has a European fascination smacking of Orientalism, it is also, simply, a beautiful painting. And quite unlike Madame X or any society portrait Sargent did as a commissioned work. This was painted while Sargent was in Venice, porbably influenced by his acquaintance, then friendship with James McNeill Whistler.

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