Woman Tuning a Mandolin
John Gadsby Chapman (American 1808–1889)Date
Oil on canvasDimensions
12 1/2 x 11 1/4 in. (31.8 x 28.6 cm)Description
Chapman was a versatile artist, best known for his elaborately decorated Harper’s Illuminated Bible (1846) and his large historical painting The Baptism of Pocahontas (1837) in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Like many artists, Chapman supplemented his income by painting portraits and making copies of famous Old Master paintings, such as seen in this remarkably accurate copy of a seventeenth-century Dutch genre painting. Such scenes of everyday life were first made popular in Holland and enjoyed a tremendous revival in the United States in the antebellum period. The subject of the Athenæum’s painting charms the viewer with its focus on the sometimes fine line between childhood and adulthood. Here, the woman attempts to tune her instrument, but is helplessly distracted by the boy’s antics.
Athenæum purchase, 1832Object Number