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Invited work: The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, Sargent

Madrid 3/16/2010 - 5/30/2010

From march to May, the Prado’s “Invited Work” exhibition programme allows visitors the exceptional opportunity to see John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, one of the most outstanding paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), alongside Las Meninas, its direct source of inspiration, which Sargent copied in the Prado during his first trip to Madrid. This is the first time that the two paintings have been displayed together.

Sponsored by:
Fundación de Amigos del Museo del Prado



The work: a reflection of Las meninas

The work: a reflection of <em>Las meninas</em>
Las hijas de Edward Darley Boit. Detail.
John Singer Sargent. Oil on canvas. 1882. Boston, Museum of Fine Arts. Gift of Mary Louisa Boit, Julia Overing Boit, Jane Hubbard Boit, and Florence D. Boit in memory of their father, Edward Darley Boit *Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Sargent profoundly admired Velázquez’s work and studied and copied a number of his paintings during his trip to Spain of 1879, as recorded in the Prado’s Copyists Book. This book is displayed in the present exhibition next to the painting and includes Sargent’s entry and his registration of his copy of Las meninas along with his copies of other works by Velázquez that he studied at first hand in the Prado.

Sargent’s copy of Las meninas, which is much smaller than the original, reveals how he faithfully captured the underlying composition and its structure as well as the placement and lighting of the individual figures, all elements that he brilliantly adapted in his family portrait of the Boit sisters painted only three years later. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882) was commissioned by the girls’ father, Edward Darley Boit, an American collector and himself a painter, whom Sargent met in Paris.

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