Analysis Of Washington General Lafayette And Tilghman At Yorktown

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When choosing a portrait to analyze, some may have a very difficult time doing so due to the abundance created over the years. For my analysis, I chose the portrait called Washington, General Lafayette and Tilghman at Yorktown. This painting, done by Charles Willson Peale depicts the three generals after their victory at Yorktown during the American Revolutionary War. As a response to the victory, the Maryland House of Delegates asked Governor Thomas Sim Lee to commission Charles Willson Peale to paint the portrait- which he finished in 1781. It is now undergoing some restoration after being removed from the Old Senate Chamber in 2009 to move to the Maryland Historical Society. It will soon be revealed back to the public for viewing December …show more content…

For example, Lieutenant Tilghman is shown wearing his ceremonial officers sword which can be seen as a symbol of his loyalty towards Washington. Washington, wearing tall black boots, collared shirt with ruffles, and a black jacket accented with gold buttons represents high rank and importance since gold was of high value during this time. Furthermore, Washington is depicted in the center foreground with a gold sword symbolizing his ability to fight and importance. By being the central, tallest figure, Peale draws your eye straight to Washington. His posture even uses symbols by showing his hand placed on his hips and feet facing outwards hinting of the victory at Yorktown and in the war. You may also notice General Lafayette pointing as if he is asking or saying something. Surprisingly upon further investigation, I learned General Lafayette was younger then both Washington and Tilghman at the time of the war. The pointing was placed in the painting to symbolize his young age and lack of wisdom. If you focus on just the three figures according to color, you’ll notice General Washington is painted seemingly the brightest, hinting once again towards his important role played throughout the …show more content…

He is known for doing roughly 1,100 portraits over the course of his career, all showing a strong Neoclassical style. His seven portraits of Washington were done from actual sittings and are constantly reproduced by various artists. His family also carried on an artistic theme, such as his brother James and nephews - Rembrandt and Rubens. He is notably considered a master of trompe l’oeil, which is a painting technique that dates back to the classical era’s of the Greeks and Romans and provides an illusion regarding the material of the object. For example, the ancient Greek, Zeuxis was reported to paint grapes so realistically that the birds would try to eat them. Today, Peale’s works of art are kept all throughout the world and his legacy lives on. He founded the Philadelphia Museum which later was known as Peale’s American Museum. The museum showed collections of biological, archaeological and botanical specimens due to Peale’s interest in natural history. Unfortunately, he could not get sufficient funding for the museum so it was later sold after his death to P.T. Barnum and Moses

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