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The lady who had to endure


This is something that happened when I visited the art museum.
I stopped in front of a painting of a portrait and couldn't tear my eyes away.
I thought to myself then, "Ah... I really want to write a story about this person".
It was an oil portrait of a lady, painted by Thomas Eakins in 1891 and titled, 'Miss Amelia Van Buren'.

There must be some reason or story as to why she was chosen as the model of the painting. Perhaps she was the lover or an acquaintance of the painter. Or perhaps she requested it herself, or she was requested by someone to be the model instead. In any case, she ended up standing in front of the painter and took up a pose that seemed to say, 'Go ahead and draw me'.
However, this Miss Amelia Van Buren faced the other way and did not look cooperative at all. In the portrait, she was resting one elbow on the chair of the arm and looked rather unhappy.

Be it a request by the painter or the wishes of the models, ladies often chose and donned their best or most expensive clothes or jewelry in most female portraits in order to bring out the best in them.

But the lady in this portrait wore clothes that were obviously mismatched. She wore her white hair up and donned an adorable dress while putting on a grim expression.

Her sense of discomfort in the painting seemed to convey her lack of freedom.
I suppose it must have been difficult for her to live as a woman in those times.
Or it could be that she wasn't allowed to be feminine due to her circumstances or environment.
As I imagined this and that about her, I could feel the beginnings of a story in my mind.

It's been three years since I encountered the unhappy portrait of this lady, and I've written a story called 'The lady who had to endure'. I would like to express my gratitude to this painting for the inspiration it gave me.


The lady who had to endure
The lady who had to endure
Copyright© 2011- Nozomi Katsura All rights reserved. No reproduction and republication without written permission.