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Self-Portrait with Five Muses

Self-Portrait with Five Muses

c. 1880

Henry Church

(American, 1836-1908)

Oil on paper mounted to board

Unframed: 73.3 x 59.7 cm (28 7/8 x 23 1/2 in.)

Delia E. Holden Fund 2012.30

Fun Fact

This painting includes a self-portrait of the artist with the muses of painting, sculpture, music, and blacksmithing.

Description

Lifelong Chagrin Falls resident Church is considered one of the great self-taught artists of 19th-century America. A painter, sculptor, and musician by passion, he offered his appearance and enthusiasms in this highly imaginative self-portrait, surrounding himself with a squadron of miniature winged muses. These figures represent not only the traditional arts of painting, sculpture, and music, but also Church's profession of blacksmithing (identified as a crowned figure holding a hammer and anvil). A savvy entrepreneur, Church launched the first commercial art gallery in northeast Ohio: Church's Art Museum, at Geauga Lake, in 1888. Its inventory consisted entirely of his own work.

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