John Singer Sargent had no romantic back story of struggle and poverty, no scandals to speak of, apart from a bit of a stir made by certain elements of Parisian society over his Portrait of Madame X.
The painting was criticised as being too erotic, due to a strap of the subject's gown, in the original version of the paining, having slipped down over her bare shoulder. The horror of it! It was after this "scandal" that the artist relocated to London, England.
|Portrait of Madame X|
Sargent was said to have been a private man, industrious, turning out consistently excellent work. Some snips from a biography of the painter from a piece HERE highlighting traits which might find reflection in his natal chart, later in this post:
It has been claimed by (the artist's biographers) Elaine Kilmurray and Richard Ormond: "The impression that emerges from descriptions by his sitters is of a vigorous, decisive, and driven artist. There are stories of Sargent's rushing to and from the easel, totally absorbed, placing his brushstrokes in gestures of absolute precision, of the cries of frustration as he rubbed out, scraped down, reworked, and grappled with the problems of representation, cries punctuated by his mild expletives... Occasionally, he would dash to the piano and play as a brief respite from painting. He was single-minded about what he wanted to achieve and would brook no interference - an approach born of professional self-belief rather than personal arrogance, from which he was remarkably free. He insisted on the right to select his sitters' costumes and accessories, and took brisk exception to comments from his sitters and their families about the truth of the likenesses and characterizations he created."
Cynthia Asquith claims that he was a "curiously inarticulate man, he used to splutter and gasp, almost growl with the strain of trying to express himself; and sometimes, like Macbeth at the dagger, he would literally clutch at the air in frustrated efforts to find, with many intermediary ‘ers’ and ‘ums’, the most ordinary words." Vernon Lee, a very close friend, added: "He was very shy, having I suppose a vague sense that there were poets about… I think John is singularly unprejudiced, almost too amiably candid in his judgements… He talked art and literature, just as formerly, and then, quite unbidden, sat down to the piano and played all sorts of bits of things."
Evan Charteris, author of John Sargent (1927), has written: "He read no newspapers; he had the sketchiest knowledge of current movements outside art; his receptive credulity made him accept fabulous items of information without question. He would have been puzzled to answer if he were asked how nine-tenths of the population lived, he would have been dumbfounded if asked how they were governed."
And from HERE
Traveling was Sargent’s natural state. .......he didn’t like being tied to his studio, so in the first decade of the 20th century, he played hooky by usually spending August to October traveling in Switzerland, Italy and Spain with a small circle of family and friends (including fellow painters).
He is said to have possessed a huge appetite and became corpulent in middle age. In 1925, at age 69, Sargent died in London, without having married or left behind any known descendants.
This doesn't strike me as one of the most obvious fits of a natal chart to an artist. From descriptions of Sargent's personality in quotes above he sounded rather Virgoan to me. Virgo might be his rising sign, I suppose. His Venus in Sagittarius matches his need for travel: "travelling was Sargent's natural state", that's a good fit.
I think Pisces Moon (it would be in this sign unless he were born in the last breaths of 22 December)with Neptune and Jupiter in Pisces too - the sign's traditional and modern rulers - accounts for a lot, including his creative talent and rather absent minded approach to current events, maybe even his apparent inarticulateness. Not sure on that though - Mercury in Saturn-ruled Capricorn, along with Saturn in Gemini, might impede mind-to-tongue co-ordination. I can attest to something akin to this, having Mercury in Capricorn myself, but not Saturn in Gemini. I feel far more articulate in writing than in speech (others might suggest I'm articulate in neither, and I would not dare to argue).
Sargent is described also as being "very shy". This affliction, too, could be related to Saturn in Gemini.
There's a "Yod" (Finger of Fate) linking a sextile between Uranus and Neptune at 16 degrees of Taurus and Pisces to Mars at 12 Libra, and his Vertex point. Taurus and Libra are both Venus-ruled signs - Venus is planet of the arts. There is emphasis on Venus and Venus-ruled signs, Pisces and the sign's rulers throughout the chart...creative, arty, soft-feeling. Capricorn Sun and Mercury contrast this with an overlay of a harder more taciturn facet in his nature, his traditional realist art style, and his professional portrait painting with close connection to the upper-classes.
Examples of his work:
|Lady Agnew of Lochnaw|
|Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth|
|Gassed (See HERE)|
|Sketches of detail for Gassed, above|
|In a Levantine Port|
|A Bedouin Arab|
|Escutcheon of Charles V|
|Ethel Smyth (chalk drawing)|
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