The Emma B. Andrews Diary Project
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'Portrait of a Girl'

In creating this first interactive digital chronology of the history of a little-known painting, 'Portrait of a Girl,' once fêted as the work of Leonardo Da Vinci, we follow a tale of smuggling and intrigue as the piece moves from the hands of famed Italian art collectors, to Roman dignitaries, American connoisseurs and 'Robber Barons'. Our research has shed light on the fate of this work which had disappeared into apparent obscurity for almost a century.  

The narrative has been developed using the open source online platform StoryMap JS, and seeks to visually guide the user through an exploration of the history and significance of this artwork, allowing users both a focused and customized experience.  

The 5th volume details the acquisition of the 'Portrait of a Girl' and its stealthy exit from Italy, across Europe, and eventually to Davis and Andrews’ home in Newport, R.I. 

We have uncovered the sometimes difficult interpersonal relationships that influenced the movement of the painting, the story behind its mistaken authentication, and how it has ended up hanging in the cozy hallway of a private home in the US.  Our unique digital exhibit gives an unparalleled glimpse into the early twentieth century world of art, politics and acquisition.

Credits

Claire Summa and Sarah Ketchley, Ph.D.