Sargent painted this study of a monastery stairwell during a visit to Italy in 1878. The verdant landscape visible through the window suggests the full bloom of summer. Like many artists based in Paris during this period, Sargent traveled extensively in search of subjects not available in his studio. This painting reveals his interest in capturing the play of natural light over architectural forms.


To the estate of the artist; to (Christie's, London, sale of the Sargent property, July 27, 1925, no. 188); to (M. Knoedler & Co., London); to (M. Knoedler & Co., New York); to (James Carstairs, Philadelphia, May 1926); to (M. Knoedler & Co., New York, December 1928); to Robert Sterling Clark, February 24, 1939.

John Singer Sargent

American, 1856–1925


c. 1878

Oil on canvas

21 7/8 x 16 1/8 in. (55.6 x 41 cm)

Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1939




Conrads, Margaret C. American Paintings and Sculpture at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1990.