Curator‘s Comments

Cecelia Vayda, Smith class of 2010

When I was a junior at Smith I joined the Student Museum Educator (SME) program.  Though I knew about art I had a horrible case of stage fright and the major component of the SME program, giving tours, terrified me. Despite this, I looked to the program to help me reduce my fright while increasing my public speaking skills about content I loved.

The first tour I led was for a group of second-grade students, and was titled “What is art?” Though I was extremely nervous, I started at a panting I had always been drawn to, 
"Mrs. Nesbitt as Circe." She has such poise and grace, and there is something in her look that commands attention. Though she sits in an imagined world she was a real woman who knew what she wanted and made sure she had the power to take it.

Talking about my favorite painting calmed me, and the tour was successful.  From that point on my love of the painting grew and I made sure to include her in as many tours as possible.  I even taught a lesson about her when I applied to my current teaching job.

Mrs. Nesbitt as Circe

Joshua Reynolds. English, 1723–1792

Mrs. Nesbitt as Circe, 1781

Oil on canvas.

Gift of Dwight W. Morrow Jr., Anne Morrow Lindbergh, class of 1928, and Constance Morrow Morgan, class of 1935.

ID Number: SC 1958:4