November 13, 2016

Painting the American Identity

Paul Staiti, Alumnae Foundation Professor of Fine Arts at Mount Holyoke College, has written a book about the lives and works of five painters who juggled the demands of art and the demands of history during the American Revolution and afterwards.

The first painter Staiti portrays is Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), a native of Maryland, who apprenticed as a saddle-maker, and then, to make more money, decided to learn to paint. He did well, studied with Benjamin West, an American painter living in London who connects all the painters in this book, then returned to America to become embroiled in the Revolution. He fought with Washington's forces in 1776 along the Delaware; fought but also painted, as the war continued, portraits of Washington.

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Source: Washington Free Beacon