The Hermit. John Singer Sargent. 1908. Oil on canvas, 37 3/4 x 38 in. (95.9 x 96.5 cm), Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (11.31), Rogers Fund, 1911. Detail: deer and hermit. Click on image to enlarge it.

Commentary from the Museum website

Sargent based this painting on sketches he had made in Val d’Aosta, in the foothills of the Alps, in northwestern Italy. Although he seems to have been preoccupied with rendering the sundappled landscape in textured brushstrokes, he also included two deer (contrived from a stuffed specimen) and a male figure that evokes religious personages such as Saint Jerome. Yet, when approving The Hermit as the translated title of the picture, Sargent wrote to the director of the Metropolitan, “I wish there were another simple word that did not bring with it any Christian association, and that rather suggested quietness and pantheism.”

Last modified 25 May 2016