The Student

Artist

Washington Allston (American 1779–1843)

Date

about 1815

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

35 7/16 x 32 7/8 in. (90 x 83.5 cm)

Description
Washington Allston’s fame was based mostly on his great historical and religious works, but he also produced fine portraits, dreamy landscapes, and allegorical figure studies, all painted in the Romantic style that he helped establish in America. He rarely painted children or even young adults, making his choice of the subject of The Student unusual for him. However, the contemplative attitude of the young man, who temporarily abandons his book to stare dreamily into space, is typical of Allston’s work—as is the sad and irreversible darkening of the paint itself, a result of Allston’s all too typical experimentation with unstable materials.
Inscription

Inscribed lower left: W. ALLSTON

Credit Line

Athenæum purchase, 1855

Object Number

UR150