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Article: Declaration of Independence (Painting)

Declaration of Independence (Painting)

Declaration of Independence (Painting)

Artist John Trumbull's 1818 painting depicts the presentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence to Congress. Trumbull painted many of the figures in the picture from life, and visited Independence Hall to depict the chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. The oil-on-canvas work was placed in the United States Capitol rotunda in 1826.

According to Wikipedia: The painting shows the five-man drafting committee presenting their draft of the Declaration on June 28, 1776 (it does not represent the signing of the Declaration).

The painting shows 42 of the 56 signers of the Declaration; Trumbull originally intended to include all 56 signers but was unable to obtain likenesses for all of them. He also depicted several participants in the debate who did not sign the document, including John Dickinson, who declined to sign. Trumbull had no portrait of Benjamin Harrison to work with, but his son Benjamin Harrison VI was said to resemble his father, so Trumbull painted him instead. Similarly, Trumbull painted Rufus Hopkins, who resembled his father Stephen Hopkins, for whom no portrait was available. As the Declaration was debated and signed over a period of time when membership in Congress changed, the men featured in the painting were never in the same room at the same time.

Although Thomas Jefferson appears to be stepping on John Adams' shoe in the painting, which many thought symbolized their relationship as friendly rivals, upon closer examination it can be seen that their feet are merely close together. This part of the image was correctly depicted on the two-dollar bill version.

On the farthest wall hangs a display of trumpets, drum, and regimental colors captured from British regiments.

Download the Keys to John Trumbull's American Revolution Paintings (to view the name and location of each person depicted in the composition).

Artist: John Trumbull
Date: 1818
Location: Philadelphia
Original medium: Oil on canvas
Orientation: Horizontal/Landscape
Image restored & enhanced by Rebel Seed Studio