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

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Thomas Whittemore

This 1922 charcoal  portrait of Thomas Whittemore by John Singer Sargent was part of the  John Singer Sargent, Portraits in Charcoal exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, in Washington, DC.

The archaeologist Thomas Whittemore played a leading role in the conservation of the magnificent Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. While teaching English literature at Tufts University, he became interested in ancient and medieval art, developing a passion for Byzantine art. Whittemore persuaded patrons on both sides of the Atlantic to support projects he developed in Europe and the Middle East. The first of these was the Committee for Relief of Refugees in Russia, which he established in 1916, with the support of Henry Higginson (whose portrait is displayed in the adjacent corridor).

 In 1930, Whittemore founded the Byzantine Institute of America in Boston, which later merged with Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. Whittemore was also an avid collector of early manuscripts and coins, and he gave a large part of his collection to the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, where he served as keeper of coins. -- NPG

John S, Sargent   1922

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