Rembrandt Peale

Self-Portrait, 1828

OTHER IMAGES

QUICK FACTS
BORN:
22 February 1778 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
  DIED:
3 October 1860 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Buried at The Woodlands in Philadelphia.

  • Two of Rembrandt Peale’s brothers are especially known today. Raphaelle Peale (1774 - 1825), was one of the earliest of American still-life painters. Titian Ramsey Peale (1800 - 85), made numerous drawings, some of them in water-color, illustrating animal life.
LINKS

Rembrandt Peale, American painter, scion of artists, and son of Charles Willson Peale, was born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania in 1778. He studied under his father, under Benjamin West in London (1802 - 03), and for two years in Paris (1807 - 09).

As early as 1795 he had begun an artistic career with a life portrait of Washington. From this portrait he created a number of copies; he also used it as the starting point for his famous Patriae Pater, purchased by the United States government in 1832, and now in the Senate of the U.S. Capitol.

Peale succeeded John Trumbull as president of the American Academy of Fine Arts (founded in 1802 as the New York Academy of Fine Arts), and he was one of the original members of the National Academy of Design. He wrote several books, among them Notes on Italy (1831) and Reminiscences of Art and Artists (1845). In 1843 he devised a system of teaching drawing and penmanship for Philadelphia public schools.

Peale was one of the first of American lithographers. He was an excellent draftsman, but in color his work cannot rank with that of his father.

His portraits include those of President Jefferson, Chief Justice John Marshall, French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, and an Equestrian Portrait of George Washington.

He died in Philadelphia in 1860.

ADAPTED FROM:
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 ed.

The Revolutionary leaders never intended to create an original and peculiar indigenous culture. Despite all their talk of American exceptionalism and American virtue in contrast with European corruption, they were seeking not to cut themselves off from Europe’s cultural heritage but to embrace it and in fact to fulfill it. It is a mistake to view America’s post-Revolutionary emulation of Europe as a legacy of helpless dependence passed on from colonial days. Americans imitated European styles and forms not because in their naïveté they could nothing else but because they wanted to.... Their revolution was very much an international affair, an attempt to fulfill the cosmopolitan dreams of the Enlightenment.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)