Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Itinerant Life.

Continuing with John Singer Sargent, who was a great influence on portrait-painting during his life time and continues to be so. John was the son of American parents, Dr. Fitzwilliam Sargent and Mary Newbold Singer Sargent who came to Italy after the death of their first child Mary (1851-1853). This death had left Mrs. Sargent very upset and she had insisted they travel to Europe while she regained her health. During the visit to Italy Mary got pregnant again, this time with John and he was born at Florence, in January 1856 .
His sister Emily (1856-1936) was born in Rome later the same year.

Emily Sargent
 The family stayed on in Europe never to live in the United States again. Mrs Sargent had further misfortunes with the birth and early death of two further children, a new daughter, Mary Winthrop "Minnie" (1861-1865) who died in Pau, France and a son Fitzwilliam Winthrop (1867-1869) who died at Kissingen Germany.
Emily also had an accident which left her disabled.
Violet Sargent (1870-1955) was the youngest and last of the children Violet also studied art at the Accademia delle Belle Arti.
Violet Sargent
The family moved continually around Europe and John was briefly schooled in Italy and Germany but most of his learning came from tutors within the family.    
Living in so many countries John became a good linguist and spoke so well that most people in Italy and France thought him a native speaker, this cosmopolitan experience turned Sargent into the modern painter he became.
During this time when John was 10 years old he met Violet Paget (a.k.a. Vernon Lee) and they became lifelong friends.

Vernon Lee

That’s it for a while as I’m off sailing again, more when I get back.

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