Frieze of Prophets, detail of Isaiah

Painting technique

Sargent’s painting technique changed dramatically over the course of the twenty-four-year mural project. His earliest canvases, such as Frieze of Prophets, installed in 1895, resembled his society portrait paintings with their fluid brush strokes, and saturated, glossy, paints. With these effects and his attention to rendering depth, Sargent created the illusion of three-dimensional figures. Note the sculptural quality of Isaiah’s face.
Frieze of Prophets, detail of Isaiah
(1999 photo)
The Triumph of Religion