Taking the Veil Artist: Robert Walter Weir (American, 1803–1889)


American Paintings and Sculpture

Not on view

The masterpiece of Robert Walter Weir's maturity, this scene depicts the consecration of a novice into the Catholic church, a scene witnessed by the artist decades earlier in Rome in the Church of San Guiseppe. Dressed in a white wedding gown, the young woman kneels before the bishop and bows her head to receive the chaplet, a symbol of purity, while her mother, in red, nods consent. Although Roman Catholic ritual was a mystery to many Americans at the time, Weir's message of solemn spiritual commitment transcended the Catholic ceremony. A professor of art at West Point known primarily as a history painter, Weir was also the period's leading American painter of religious themes.


Oil on canvas


49 1/2 × 39 3/4 in. (125.7 × 101 cm)

Credit Line

Yale University Art Gallery

Accession Number



19th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.

  • Marian Wardle, The Weir Family, 1820-1920 Expanding the Traditions of American Art (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 2011), 9, ill
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

religious art


Signed lower left "Robt. W. Weir 1863"

Technical metadata and APIs


Open in Mirador

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