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

Monday, March 9, 2020


This c 1870 statue of the Lesbian Poet Sappho by Vinnie Ream stands in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.
Sappho (/ˈsæfoʊ/; Greek: Σαπφώ Sapphṓ; Aeolic Greek Ψάπφω Psápphō; c. 630 – c. 570 BC) was an Archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos. Sappho is known for her lyric poetry, written to be sung while accompanied by a lyre. In ancient times, Sappho was widely regarded as one of the greatest lyric poets and was given names such as the “Tenth Muse” and “The Poetess”. Most of Sappho's poetry is now lost, and what is extant has survived only in fragmentary form, except for one complete poem: the “Ode to Aphrodite”. As well as lyric poetry, ancient commentators claimed that Sappho wrote elegiac and iambic poetry. Three epigrams attributed to Sappho are extant, but these are actually Hellenistic imitations of Sappho's style. – Wikipedia 


By Vinnie Ream Hoxie
Gift of 
Richard L. Hoxie

Vinnie Ream Fecit Rome

Sappho holds a slip of  paper in her left hand containing a scrap of poetry. Sappho's poems survive only as fragments.

This fragment (#55) translates to: “Dead you will be and never memory of you will there be nor desire into the aftertime.” a particularly sad sentiment considering that a bronze version of this statue stands on Vinnie Ream's own grave in Arlington Cemetery. (See Vinnie Ream elsewhere in the Portrait Gallery.)


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