Sargent translates a monochromatic subject—a carved stone relief—into a dazzling study of saturated golden light on pale stone. The composition was thoroughly planned in a graphite underdrawing, which Sargent then obscured with his seemingly effortless, free application of pigment. The escutcheon represents the heraldic insignia of Emperor Charles V of Spain. It is located on a fountain on the exterior fortification walls of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, where Sargent painted in 1912.
John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)