Rather than creating his murals as frescoes—that is, applying the paint directly to wet plaster walls—Sargent produced monumental oil paintings in his studios in London and in Boston’s South End. The finished canvases were then adhered to the Museum’s walls. Sargent also created plaster reliefs, the frames for his paintings and sculptures, the ornaments that adorn the spandrels, and even the classical-style urns and sphinxes in the balconies above the rotunda’s three doorways. The Museum unveiled Sargent’s elaborate work to great fanfare in October 1921.
View of John Singer Sargent’s murals in the dome of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (contemporary view)
The Triumph of Religion