The Art Gallery at the Athenaeum contains one of America’s unique collections of 19th century American paintings. Each week we feature a different work on this page.

The text describing each painting was written by Mark D. Mitchell, Assistant Curator of Nineteenth-Century Art at the National Academy Museum. The digital images were prepared by Robert Jenks of Jenks Studio of Photography in St. Johnsbury, VT.

Please note that the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum prohibits the use of images from its collection in public exhibition, broadcast, electronic reproduction or publication in any form without prior written permission from the institution. If you would like to reproduce any of the Art Gallery images in any form, contact us at 802- 748-8291.

You can also visit our digital art gallery and enjoy our art collection online:

Hudson River School of Painting
American artists
European artists
Other artists

Red  Ridinghood

Seymour Joseph Guy (1824-1910), British-American
Red Riding Hood, around 1866
OIL ON CANVAS, 8 1/16 x 12 3/8 inches
Gift of Mrs. Theodora Willard Best

The modern nursery tale of Little Red Riding Hood derives from tra­ditional folk stories circulated in both Europe and Scandinavia. First published by the French author Charles Perrault in 1697, the story's most popular version did not acquire a happy ending until the early nine­teenth century, when it was added by the German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. In Guy's painting, Red, who does not suspect the wolf's wickedness, inno­cently points the way to her grandmother's house, where the wolf will set his trap.

One art historian, David Lubin, has suggested that the popularity of such depictions of vulnerable young girls, including this particular painting, reflected a conservative reassertion of women's dependence on men at a time when leaders such as suffragist Susan B. Anthony were agitating for women's rights.

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