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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Art Review

MFA hosts ravishing exhibit of Sargent watercolors

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) painted in watercolors for the first time when he was 12 or 13. He used the medium for its own sake, but also as a kind of visual notation, recording aspects of the lands — chiefly Italy and Switzerland — through which he traveled with his family as an unusually peripatetic youth.

He was learning how to look, how to render what he saw, and how to get a feel for the hinge connecting those two functions — that hinge we refer to as an artist’s style, or vision.

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