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Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

Painting, 1886, 153.8×174 cm

Description of the artwork «Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose»

The picture where two girls are lit Chinese lanterns in the twilight the garden was one of the most recognizable and celebrated works of Sargent. It is written, however, was in a period of "oblivion" when the artist is not even criticized – it just did not notice. Such a creative invisibility gave the Sargent a certain freedom in the movements and in the choice of subjects. Title leaf "Carnation, Lily, Lily, rose" (alternative title – "Chinese lanterns") was taken by the artist of the then popular romantic song "Shepherd told me."

While working on this canvas Sargent was inspired by the ideas and principles of impressionism. Some of his landscapes of those years, filled with the sun, is often compared to the paintings of Monet1, 2, 3). When the artist visited the idea garden in the sunset twilight and the two girls with Chinese lanterns, he is following the precepts of impressionism, he decided to paint only what he sees. Therefore, the work on the painting took a very long time because of the need light Sargent could catch only a few evening minutes.

The first model of the artist became five year old daughter of his friend Francis Millett but for a child was back-breaking labor day in and day motionless in the same position, and even in the wig. So the girl was replaced by Polly and Dorothy – daughters of the Illustrator Frederick Barnard. Work on the painting lasted from August until November, after which Sargent had to take a longer break due to unsuitable weather. But even when very cold, and rose bushes withered, the artist continued to paint, hunting for precious light. The writer Edmund Gosse, who was a guest at the Millet at the same time with the Sargent, said in one of his letters: "He would dress the children in white sweaters which came them to the ankles, and the top pulled dresses. The Sargent was bundled up like an Arctic Explorer. Roses gradually withered, and had to be replaced by artificial flowers, which were attached to the dried bushes. <...> Or for a single painting he did many sketches. Sometimes he could stop kids in the middle of the game shouting: "Freeze! Stop! I need to make a sketch." And run away, leaving the girls motionless as Lot's wife, waiting, when he returns with his easel, canvas and paints".

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape, Portrait, Genre scene

Style of art: Impressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1886

Size: 153.8×174 cm

Artwork in selections: 109 selections

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