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Exhibition Drawn to Purpose

Alice Barber Stephens (1858–1932). She Bent Down Over the Dead Monk, 1900. Published in Nathaniel Hawthorne The Marble Faun, 1900. Oil painting. Cabinet of American Illustration, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.01.00)

Personal Reckoning

As her friends wait in the foreground, Miriam, the protagonist of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Marble Faun, contemplates the form of Brother Antonio, an ambivalent figure from her past. Alice Barber Stephens imbues the scene with a solemnity, rendering the elaborate church interior with authenticity without overwhelming the human drama within. Considered among her finest, her drawings for this novel garnered a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.