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Misrepresentation 18 inch by 24 inch oil on canvas $400 see enlarged picture.

Description about the painting:

Day 1 of 3 Day of Deaf History De'VIA Challenge
oil on canvas
size 18 inch by 24 inch
by Nancy Rourke

This painting that I did, is based on two paintings by Jerome Martin Langlois. Both of Langlois' paintings had shown misrepresentations.

The first painting was done in 1806, that shows Sicard in a classroom, teaching a young Deaf girl to speak. In the background is Jean Massieu gesturing to a phrase written in (French) "means of making sounds articulated by the feeling of pressure" on a blackboard. This phrase is found in one of Sicard's books. However, it was discovered that underneath this writing in the painting was another, ORIGINAL sentence. This sentence read
"La reconnaissance est la mémoire du coeur" (Gratitude is the remembrance of the heart.) The original sentence would seem familiar, clearly coming from Massieu. So, why did Langlois replace Massieu's words with Sicard's words? and Massieu is silenced into being someone used to call attention to Sicard, rather than the other way around. There is no known record of Massieu's reaction to the painting.

Langlois' second painting was made in 1814, had a similar composition as his first painting, this time with Sicard instructing a young boy in writing. There is young Laurent Clerc in the background. The painting was eventually purchased and donated to the Paris School, and it was more likely Clerc and the students saw this painting on a daily basis. This lead to what is likely the first known act of protest against artistic representation by a group of Deaf people. In writing to the painter, Langlois, Clerc stated that the Deaf students were upset because "The young Grivel, a boy is hearing-and-talking....he is no longer part of the class of the deaf...The deaf demand therefore that his portrait be EFFACED and that a deaf student from the school take his place." One can imagine the Deaf
students' outrage at the painting, and their pleas to Clerc to protest on their behalf. Clerc must have felt insulted enough, to write to a well-known Hearing painter, Langlois with criticism which was very bold for that time in history. What was the painter's response? We do not know, but the painting was never altered.
(credited to USDeafhistory.com)

So in this painting, I put together two paintings and made some changes. I made Massieu's quote "gratitude is the remembrance of the heart" in yellow, to make it stand out. I made the blue boy's face wiped out and I made Clerc looking at the blue boy. There's no face on the blue boy.

Langlois' 1806 painting

Langlois' 1814 painting


click on thumbnails to enlarge

Nancy Rourke paintings copyright. 2015
Last updated March 26, 2015