While on a trip to America in 1890, Sargent was asked by officials at the Boston Public Library to decorate one end of the Special Collections Hall in the new library building. After receiving this commission, he traveled to the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East, where he gathered source material for the mural project. Because the Library would later expand the commission to include all four walls of the hallway, Sargent’s work on the murals ultimately continued for more than twenty-five years; the final panels were installed in 1919.
Study for the North Wall with Side Walls, Sargent Hall, Boston Public Library, 1890–95
Oil on canvas, 87.95 x 109.22 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond
The Triumph of Religion