"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Charlotte Cushman

This 1853 portrait of Charlotte Cushman by William Page hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
"Charlotte Cushman was an actor in the same vein as Edwin Forrest, exemplifying the vigor, passion, and emotional fervor that were prized both by the Romantics and by Americans eager to assert their cultural distinctiveness from Europe. Cushman's formal training in London enhanced the emotional directness of her performances. She debuted as Lady Macbeth in 1836 and thereafter went from strength to strength in a range of widely praised performances. Because of Cushman's commanding, supposedly masculine appearance, she also took on male roles such as Romeo and Hamlet, winning praise for these performances as well. The Romantic English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning commented that this portrait by William Page 'is really wonderful soul and body together.'" -- National Portrait Gallery
Here Charlotte plays Romeo opposite her sister Susan as Juliet (Harvard Theatre Collection).

This photo also from the Harvard Theatre Collection (via Wikipedia) shows Charlotte Cushman and her "love interest", writer, journalist and actress,  Matilda Hays.

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