This female angel is one of many that Abbott Handerson Thayer painted during his career. Originally a painter of animals, Thayer created portraits and then allegorical figures like this example after training in Paris. The artist wrote of his seraphic subjects, “I have put on wings probably more to symbolize an exalted atmosphere... where one need not explain the action of his figures.” Other late 19th-century artists such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens also represented angelic female figures to personify what they perceived as the virtues of women. In Winged Figure, Thayer mixed this idealism with a level of naturalism, particularizing the woman’s features and giving her form a sense of mass and gr...
Oil on canvas
130.8 x 95.9cm
Image and text courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago, 2019
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