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Mary by Henry Ossawa Tanner / American Art
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Mary

ca. 1914 Henry Ossawa Tanner Born: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1859 Died: Paris, France 1937 oil on canvas 45 1/2 x 34 3/4 in. (115.5 x 88.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Dorothy L. McGuire 1991.102 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 11B



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Mary
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Luce Center Label

Henry Ossawa Tanner saw Mary, mother of Jesus, as a symbol of faith and fortitude. He painted many images of her and created this particular work during a difficult and trying time in his life. In 1914, the year his mother died, the outbreak of World War I forced his family to flee France for England. In this scene, Mary awaits the arrival of the angel who will tell her that she bears the Son of God. The glowing lamp, a symbol of God’s presence, adds mystery and suspense to the painting.

Keywords

Figure(s) in interior

Religion - New Testament - Mary

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas