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Covert Catholicism in Colonial Portraiture: Justus Engelhardt Kuhn's Eleanor Darnall, c. 1710

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October 01, 2015

While Kuhn's portrait of Henry Darnall and his slave is one of the best-known images of colonial American art, the pendant portrait of his sister Eleanor has attracted little scholarly attention. This lecture will reveal that Eleanor's portrait was not simply a status symbol, as many have assumed, but also Kuhn included symbols that reaffirm the Darnall's commitment to their faith during a time of heightened persecution of Catholics and the colony's rapid Anglicization. The portrait's details, including the flowers, enclosed garden, and fountain, suggest Eleanor's metaphorical relation to the Virgin Mary and her future significance to her family as caretaker of the faith.

Event Details

Event Category
  • Art Museums & Galleries
  • History
General Information
  • Admission: Tickets are $50.
  • Event Time(s): 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Mount Vernon


The Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
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