What a gift it was to see the selection of Sargent portraits exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is considered to be the master of the portrait for very obvious reasons. It was beautiful to get the feel, the spirit, of the people in the paintings… and sometimes to feel the heart of the painter. It is a humbling experience, an understanding of why some artists are so loved by so many.
My personal favorite amongst my several favorites of Sargent’s, is “Madam X”. I don’t think I am unique in that at all. To me, she shows a confidence and personal attitude that doesn’t really care what you think about her. She is already wonderful enough to not care what anyone else thinks…. still, with a flavor of true beauty. I am aware of the scandal that followed Sargent’s exhibiting of this portrait. I prefer to think of the innocence of her knowing who she is and that she is made beautifully, inside and out…. possessing a simple knowledge of her own beauty without having to dwell on it. Let me see that in his portrait, please.
Maybe I like to see his painting in that light, because that’s what I saw in a very beautiful young woman when I painted her portrait. Not being a portrait artist myself, this one was painted out of the true love that comes with wanting to paint someone because of that true love. I thought that the Lord God has created this one as beautiful as they come…. inside and out, yet the flavor came with a little of Madam X… in the unassuming innocence of being.
It was very enjoyable to view Sargent’s exhibit, but the best part, was to view it with a truly beautiful woman – one who is comfortable and confident in her own being, and in trust of the Lord.