Symphony in White, No. 2 The Little White Girl (1864) by James Whistler

Symphony in White, No. 2 The Little White Girl - James Whistler - 1864

Artwork Information

TitleSymphony in White, No. 2 The Little White Girl
ArtistJames Whistler
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions76.5 x 51.1 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationTate Britain, London, UK

About Symphony in White, No. 2 The Little White Girl

The artwork titled “Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl” was crafted by the artist James Whistler in 1864. This oil on canvas belongs to the Realism art movement and portrays a portrait genre. The work measures 76.5 by 51.1 cm and is currently housed in Tate Britain, in London, United Kingdom.

In the artwork, we observe a young woman dressed in a luminous white gown that imparts a sense of purity and softness. Her attire cascades gently, depicted by Whistler with meticulous attention to the texture and flow of the fabric. She is positioned beside a mantelpiece, on which rests an ornate blue and white vase containing a few sprigs of delicate pink flowers, contributing to the composition’s overall chromatic harmony. Her poised mannerism suggests a contemplative state, perhaps in quiet admiration of her own reflection visible in the mirror beside her. This is evidenced by the viewer’s glimpse of her profiled face in the mirror’s surface, lending the image an air of introspection. One hand gracefully steadies a fan with an Asian design, subtly accenting the composition with a touch of color and allusive cultural reference. The background is marked by a muted palette that allows the figure and the reflections to stand as the focal points of the piece. Whistler’s masterful employment of a limited color range and a focus on tonal variations creates a symphonic effect, evoking an aesthetic experience in alignment with the title of the work.

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