Bringing Down Marble from the Quarries to Carrara

Artist:
John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
Date:
1911
Culture:
American
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
28 1/8 x 36 1/8 in. (71.4 x 91.8 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917
Accession Number:
17.97.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 770
Sargent consolidated many on-the-spot studies of workers into this depiction of the grueling labor, conducted without modern technology, at the historic Italian quarries. He suggests scale within the massive landscape in his placement of the workers at opposite ends of the ropes— stretched diagonally across the composition— used to lower marble blocks from the quarry. A friend described the artist’s devotion to the subject: "[Sargent] slept for weeks in a hut so completely devoid of all ordinary comforts that his companions, far younger men, fled after a few days, unable to stand the Spartan rigors tolerated by their senior with such serene indifference."
Signature: [at lower left]: John S. Sargent
with M. Knoedler and Company, New York, until 1912; Harris Brisbane Dick, 1912–1917