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S. Zita

Esther Frances (Francesca) Alexander

American Art

MEDIUM Brown ink on cream, moderately thick, slightly textured wove paper.
DATES 1874–1882
DIMENSIONS Sheet: 14 15/16 x 10 15/16 in. (37.9 x 27.8 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed upper right corner in ink: "LXX"
CREDIT LINE Dick S. Ramsay Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION This drawing is one of a set of 122 illustrations the artist made for "Roadside Songs of Tuscany" (English edition, 1885; American edition, 1897). Poem written in two registers flanking a flowering plant, in English at left and in Italian at right. Verse in English reads: "An uncle Zita had, of whom they tell, / That every Virtue did his soul attire. / Faith, charity and hope did with him dwell, / And holy works were all his heart's desire. / Poor, yet content, God's name he honored well, / Nor did to aught of earthly good aspire. / A man of humble life, and saintly fame; / And Graziano was this uncle's name. / Time passed, the girl grew older, well content, / To do God's work, whate'er that work might be: / her brightest hours on her knees were spent, / And little thought of worldly things had she. / One day to saddening care her mind was lent: / I eat my father's bread, he works for me! / She raised her heart in prayer: Oh Lord, she said, / To Lucca let me go, and earn my bread. / And he who hears in secret, heard that prayer: / For both her parents came, the selfsame day, / And asked her, Daughter, wouldst thou now prepare / As servant in a noble house to stay? / For since to serve the Lord is all thy care / In Lucca hath he marked thee out thy way. / There may'st thou live, there labour, and there die. / Thank God! So be it! Zita made reply. / They reached the house for Zita's home designed, / And casa Fantinelli was its name. / A family of noble life and mind / Dwelt in it, when the saintly maiden came. / Just to their servants, to the needy kind. / With them her life could pass, almost the same / As with her parents. She, rejoiced indeed, / Gave thanks to God who did such grace concede."
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Esther Frances (Francesca) Alexander (American, 1837–1917). S. Zita, 1874–1882. Brown ink on cream, moderately thick, slightly textured wove paper., Sheet: 14 15/16 x 10 15/16 in. (37.9 x 27.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 83.33.1 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 83.33.1_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 83.33.1_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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