Frieze of Prophets, detail of Isaiah Given its public context, the subject Sargent selected may seem odd to us. In his own time, however, his approach to religion was quintessentially modern, democratic, and American. According to Sargent, religion’s highest achievement was precisely the privacy of modern belief, an ideal fundamental to American religious liberty. Freed from superstition, fanaticism, and the veneer of established creeds and institutions, religion could become an interior matter, to be entered into by each individual according to choice.
Frieze of Prophets, detail of Isaiah
(1999 photo)
The Triumph of Religion