Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Allan Melville

Artist:
John Rubens Smith (American, London 1775–1849 New York)
Date:
1810
Medium:
Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on smooth surfaced off-white wove paper
Dimensions:
8 7/8 x 6 3/4 in. (22.5 x 17.1 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Bequest of Charlotte E. Hoadley, 1946
Accession Number:
46.192.4
Not on view
In his novel "Pierre, or The Ambiguities" (1852), Herman Melville fictionalized this portrait of his father, describing the subject as the father of Pierre, the hero of the tale. The portrait so fascinated the younger Melville that an entire chapter, and much of the novel's theme, turns upon the mystery of the sitter's character, concealed by his youth, informality, and apparent candor. The portraitist Smith never exceeded his mastery here of exacting technique in the service of expression. The artist's métier in such cabinet-sized watercolor portraits stems from miniature painting and the related art of "stained drawings" developed in England in the late eighteenth century. Smith undoubtedly also derived his technique from his father, John Raphael Smith, who specialized in stipple engravings of portraits and genre scenes in his native London.
Signature: [at lower right]: IRS / 1810
Related Objects

A Compendium of Picturesque Anatomy, Adapted to the Arts of Design, Painting, Sculpture and Engraving

Artist: Written and published by John Rubens Smith (American, London 1775–1849 New York) Date: 1827 Medium: Illustrations: lithography Accession: 46.88 On view in:Not on view

A Key to the Art of Drawing the Human Figure...

Artist: John Rubens Smith (American, London 1775–1849 New York) Date: 1831 Medium: Illustrations: lithography Accession: 54.524.11 On view in:Not on view

A Compendium of Picturesque Anatomy Adapted to the Arts of Design, Painting, Sculpture and Engraving

Artist: Designed and published by John Rubens Smith (American, London 1775–1849 New York) Date: 1827 Medium: Illustrations: lithography Accession: 54.524.86 On view in:Not on view

The Juvenile Drawing Book: Being the Rudiments of the Art in a Series of Progressive Lessons

Artist: John Rubens Smith (American, London 1775–1849 New York) Date: 1844 Medium: Illustrations: lithography Accession: 54.524.33 On view in:Not on view

The Juvenile Drawing Book: Being the Rudiments of the Art Explained in a Set of Progressive Lessons

Artist: John Rubens Smith (American, London 1775–1849 New York) Date: 1845 Medium: Illustrations: soft ground etching Accession: 54.524.9 On view in:Not on view