The Veiled Nun
Little is known about the life of Italian sculptor Giuseppe Croff, or how his masterfully realized marble sculpture The Veiled Nun earned its name. Despite the title, the woman’s elegant, stylish coiffure and finely embroidered veil indicate that she is a woman of means or an allegorical figure, rather than a member of a religious order. The veiled woman was a popular subject in painting and sculpture during the second half of the 19th century, and Croff’s handling of the diaphanous veil coyly reveals as much as it conceals. Purchased in Rome in 1873 by William Wilson Corcoran, the work was prominently featured in the opening exhibition of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in January of 1874.