I spent a few hours at the Huntington Library this morning, its one of my favorite places in the world. There are expansive gardens to stroll and several art collections located in what used to be a family home (more like mansion). The painting pictured in the last panel is “Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse” Joshua Reynolds is a breathtaking piece, its just fascinating. Sarah Siddons was a very renowned actress at the time, and there were more than 400 portraits commissioned of her in her lifetime, this is the most famous. She was famous for her ability to play tragic roles, and was said to regularly bring her entire audience to tears. Actors were not held in high opinion at the time, but due to her amazing talents and ‘reputation of respectability off stage’ she was able to rise above that stereotype. The shadowy figures behind Sarah are representations of pity and terror, which is a reference to Aristotles Poetics. Terror, the figure on Sarahs right is a self portrait of the artist himself, Reynolds grimaced into a mirror for the image.
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