Peale, Charles Willson: Portraiture


The earliest known portrait of Washington (1772; Washington and Lee Univ.) was painted by Peale. Of the many he painted of Washington, seven were from life. Peale served as a captain of volunteers in the Revolution, painting, when he could, portraits of military leaders. His group Washington, Lafayette, and Tench Tilghman hangs in the chamber of the house of delegates, Annapolis. Other portraits of Washington are in the Brooklyn Museum; the Metropolitan Museum; Princeton; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. After Copley's departure for England, Peale was the most popular portrait painter in the country. During his lifetime he painted a galaxy of historical figures, including Washington, Martha Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, John Paul Jones, John Hancock, and John Adams.

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