plan of Sargent Hall with proposed placement of Sermon on the Mount

East wall

Sargent initially planned to fill the east wall with a panoramic scene of the Sermon on the Mount. In the artist’s time, many considered this subject to represent the interiorization of religion, spirituality written on the heart rather than on tablets of stone. Thus, the scene built on the words of Hebrew prophets (Jeremiah, for example) who sought a covenant of the heart. Jewish scholars in Sargent’s time pointed out this derivation and claimed as Judaism’s own the most admired aspects of these words of the Jewish Jesus.
Plan of Sargent Hall placing Sargent’s
initial concept for “Sermon on the Mount”
The Triumph of Religion