Collection Artwork
George Platt Lynes (East Orange, New Jersey, 1907 – 1955, New York)
Lillian Gish and Paul Cadmus as Egeria and Numa Pompilius
gelatin silver print
9 1/4 x 7 3/8 in.
The Jack Shear Collection of Photography at the Tang Teaching Museum

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

Tang Collective Catalog

In most medieval depictions of the mythological nymph Egeria and the king Numa Pompilius, Egeria is giving guidance while she stands above Numa as he kneels or sits. The contrast between the original depictions and George Platt Lynes’s photography is glaring. In Lynes’s version, Paul Cadmus as Numa is above Egeria, looking down in what seems like disgust. She is the focal point of the picture, surrounded by a glowing halo. It’s as if she’s one with the tree as her hair winds through its branches. She looks like she’s concentrating on something important: maybe a spell, maybe searching for a spiritual answer to help guide Numa. Why did Lynes put Numa in the top corner almost out of frame? He is usually the center of attention, and what does it mean for Egeria to be the center?
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