Sargent painted portraits of the rich and famous, approximately at the end of the 1800's. For some reason, I can almost never remember his name correctly, but I do remember his paintings.
He completed a formal portrait of Teddy Roosevelt. I'd seen the caricatures of Roosevelt talking softly and carrying a big stick--the drawings of him in a safari hat. But the Sargent painting showed a side of Teddy I hadn't thought about. The younger man in the portrait looked completely capable of becoming president.
I think another of the reasons I like the Sargent portraits is because he often painted full length views, not just the head and shoulders. And one of his pictures supposedly caused a bit of a furor because he painted a society woman with the strap of her evening gown falling slightly off the shoulder. When you consider the nature of some admired sculptures and paintings of the past, you can understand why Sargent got a bit upset to have his artwork considered risqué.
I think it's a remarkable painting, and the criticism is telling. If Sargent hadn't done his job well, no one would have cared.