(b. 1810, Milano, d. 1869, Torno)
The Veiled Nunc. 1860
Marble, height 38 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington
The Veiled Nun, in the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, is one of Croff's most celebrated works and also one of the most popular objects in the prestigious collection. Carved in marble, The Veiled Nun is a fine example of a detailed rendering of texture and form, as the thin material gently reveals the contours of the nun's face.
Despite the title, the woman's elegant, stylish coiffure and finely embroidered veil indicate that she is a woman of means or an allegorical figure, rather than a member of a religious order. The veiled woman was a popular subject in painting and sculpture during the second half of the 19th century, and Croff's handling of the diaphanous veil coyly reveals as much as it conceals.