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The Student

The Student

Washington Allston (American, 1779 - 1843)
ca. 1815
Oil on canvas
35 7/16 x 32 7/8 in. (90 x 83.5 cm)

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.


Inscribed lower left: W. ALLSTON

Credit Line: 

Athenæum purchase, 1855

Object Number: