Clara Weaver Parrish
North America, American
17 15/16 in. x 23 in. (45.56 cm x 58.42 cm)
Medium and Support:
Watercolor on paper
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase
Parrish was a native Alabamian, born in Selma, who left to study art in New York City in the early 1880s. She was hired by the Louis Comfort Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company in 1890 to provide designs for stained glass windows, some of which were executed for churches in her hometown. Christian subject matter naturally predominated in these designs for stained glass, and the subject of this watercolor is consistent with those seen in her church windows. The three figures depicted here are the companions of the Virgin Mary who visited the tomb of Christ, identified in the Gospel of Mark as Mary of Cleopas, Mary Magdelene, and Mary, mother of James and John, two of Christ's disciples. The women approach the entrance of the tomb, which is outside the boundary of the composition but is suggested by the rays of light and the lilies which emerge from the left border. The women's intention, to annoint Christ's body, is suggested by the vessels they carry; their facial expressions and their postures convey their reverence. Parrish utilized a distinctive technique for her watercolors, applying layers and glazes of color to suggest richness and atmospheric depth.