Reverse Glass Portrait Painting

c. 1900
W: 15.5" D: 0.75" H: 23.0"
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With its sparkling color and folk art appeal, this portrait painting from around 1900 makes a delightful accent to a bedroom or study. This portrait painting of a young woman is an example of reverse glass painting, in which an artist applies paint to the back of a piece of glass. Thought to have developed during the Italian Renaissance, the practice spread throughout Europe remaining popular for centuries afterward. During the Qing dynasty, Chinese emperors became fascinated with Western art forms and encouraged court artists to practice techniques such as this reverse glass painting. Using fine brushes, the artist essentially worked backwards to create this painting on glass, painting in details of the patterns and facial features first before filling in larger blocks of color seen in the woman’s blouse and skirt.

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