'The sense of sight', Annie Louisa Swynnerton, 1895

An angel with outstretched wings fills the painting. She looks startled as her hands are raised. She is staring at something outisde the frame of the painting which we are not shown.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 87.3 x 101cm
Accession Number: WAG 2640
Annie Swynnerton (1844-1933)

The senses were a favourite subject for artists in the 17th century. They were usually represented in a fairly literal manner.

Swynnerton, however, has painted an angel who seems to have descended to earth and now relies on her sight to re-establish her links with heaven. Her rapturous expression suggests not just sight but a vision.

Swynnerton was a strong believer in equality for women in art. She was a founder of the Manchester Society of Women Painters. In 1922 she became the first female associate of the Royal Academy since the 18th century.

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