Washington Before Yorktown by Rembrandt Peale

Rembrandt Peale was born on February 22, 1778 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  He is best known for his portraits of famous people, particularly presidents.

Peale’s father was an accomplished artist and named him after the Dutch master Rembrandt.  The boy had much to live up to between the talents of his namesake and his father, but the pressure was spread evenly between him and his brothers, who were also named after artists!  (Raphaelle, Rubens, and Titian.)  Their father taught them early, and Rembrandt was painting well at the age of eight before he went on to take formal lessons.  He watched his father paint George Washington, and when he tried a portrait of the president himself, he established himself and began to gain renown.

Peale traveled through Europe quite a bit throughout his life, seeking inspiration for his art.  He particularly grew when studying the works of Jacques-Louis David.  From these studies he developed his Neoclassical style.  When he returned to the United States, he started his own museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Peale created more than 600 paintings over the course of his lifetime.

Below are shown The Roman Daughter,  Thomas Jefferson,


and Peale’s self portrait.



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