John Singer Sargent - Cast of an Urn, 1916-1921

John Singer Sargent (Florence, 1856 - 1925, London)

Cast of an Urn for the Rotunda, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1916-1921

Plaster, 20 x 7 cm (7 7/8 x 2 3/4 in.)


Object details

Accession number



Made for the model of the rotunda, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Gift from John Singer Sargent to Isabella Stewart Gardner after 1918.


Carol Troyen. Sargent's Murals in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1999), pp. 13-14, fig. 6, ill.

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The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston commissioned John Singer Sargent to decorate the rotunda of their new building in 1916. He designed not only the paintings and sculpted reliefs but also the architectural elements. Sargent probably gave Isabella Stewart Gardner this maquette for an urn that was part of his 1/8-scale model of the rotunda. He planned two monumental pairs of them to adorn balconies over the rotunda’s side entrances and also experimented with placing one in a niche but ultimately substituted it with a plaster cast of an ancient sculpture from the museum’s collection. Gardner installed it with many other objects of personal importance in the Vatichino, a densely filled semiprivate space on the ground floor of the museum, next to the MacKnight Room.