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It Came from the Vault: Rarely Seen Works from MAG’s Collection

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Woman and Child on a Verandah

20 1/4 x 14 1/4 in. (51.4 x 36.2 cm)

Unknown, Chinese

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Ink and color on glass
Credit Line: Estates of Maurice R. and Maxine B. Forman
Accession Number: 1996.65
Link to this object
Location: Not currently on view

Reverse glass painting is a technique by which the artist applies paint, usually oil, on the back of a clear glass panel. The pigment adheres to the smooth surface of the glass, retaining a fresh color similar to that of enamels. The glass becomes part of the picture by providing the ground for the paint as well as the cover for the artwork.

Although examples of this technique exist from the Roman period of European history, reverse glass painting was first introduced into Asia in the early 1700s. By the early 1800s, there was a large market for these paintings among European and American traders and travelers to China; most were made by Chinese artists specifically for export to the West. The most popular subjects were portraits, images of children playing at the Imperial palace, and landscape and harbor scenes.

[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]

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It Came from the Vault exhibition catalogue Entry for this artwork in the It Came from the Vault exhibition catalogue. The exhibition ran from March 17-June 9, 2013

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