Sketch for Sermon on the Mount, detail

Sermon on the Mount (continued)

With recourse to the work of other artists, many options for the rendering of this scene would have been available to Sargent. Most of the precedents distinguished Jesus rather more dramatically from the crowd around him. Some artists accomplished this by elevating Jesus above the crowd, by spotlighting him, by giving him a halo, and by assigning a gesture of exhortation or preaching. Sargent’s version, by contrast, would show Jesus engaged in the activity of teaching.
Sketch for “Sermon on the Mount,” detail
Graphite on paper, 25.4 x 33 cm
Boston Public Library, Print Department
Gift of Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs. Francis Ormond
The Triumph of Religion