Who is the artist of this miniature painting -- and how old is it?
April 14, 2018 12:56 PM   Subscribe

A friend recently bought this miniature framed picture of St Fabiola, and thinks it must surely be older than the date of 1961 written on the back. We think it's painted in a Victorian style.

There was a recent exhibit of hundreds of Fabiola paintings by amateurs and other artists; there are also many variations of the same "woman in red hooded gown" painting out there. But we haven't seen this version.

We're trying to figure out the artist's name. The eBay seller says it's "H. Bellerin" but it might be something else. And is there something written in pencil on the back as well? Can I enhance the photos to figure that out?
posted by vickyverky to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
It's framed in a quasi-Victorian style; it isn't painted in one. That date seems bang on to me?
posted by DarlingBri at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

It looks like a copy of Jean-Jacques Henner's painting of her.
posted by brianogilvie at 1:23 PM on April 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

It says "St. Fabiola, patron saint of nursing," and it does look like it's modeled after that Henner portrait. The signature and the writing on the back look similar. The painter wouldn't have to "be" anyone in particular, as copying an image would be a learner's exercise or, I suppose, a work of devotion.
posted by praemunire at 3:45 PM on April 14, 2018

(Having now read that article about the exhibition (!!!), I think it's even more likely that the painter was not an established artistic figure, but some private individual doing a devotional or training exercise. In which case, lacking further documentary evidence (or the money to do some science), you're unlikely to be able to date it. Seems like the backing paper might be an edition of Noel's Nouveau dictionnaire fran├žais-latin, which was published in 1822, but that only provides an earliest possible date, which we already knew, as the Henner was painted in 1881. You'd expect books used for waste paper to be older, and I have no idea what other editions there were.)
posted by praemunire at 4:00 PM on April 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Apologies for not following "more inside" and seeing your links before posting my answer. I'll see myself out now.
posted by brianogilvie at 4:39 PM on April 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: There is something very faintly written in pencil on the back, below the inked words -- I don't know if there's a way to enhance the photo to see if we can find out what that is?

We think it's probably an amateur, but it would be nice to sleuth out what that name is and then do a bit of research.
posted by vickyverky at 6:05 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

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