William Ordway Partridge created numerous idealized portraits of famous writers, musicians, and artists. He used his own experience as a writer and poet to model sensitive images of the artists, often portraying them deep in thought. In this portrait the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) is shown with a downward gaze and slightly tilted head. His dreamy expression evokes a sense of introspection, as if he is away in a world of his own.
Luce Object Quote:
“Eternal Soul of man, how strong to save!How strong to live, outlasting death’s great pain!Remembering Shelley’s triumph, we grow braveTo barter life itself for surer gain-Since joy beyond all vision rent the night,When that swift spirit melted into light.”From the poem “Shelley” by William Partridge, Archives of American Art