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.
John Vanderlyn (1775—1852)
Oil on Canvas; 25 1/4 x 20 7/8 in. (64.1 x 53 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.
Watercolor on ivory.
Oil on canvas; 36 7/8 x 28 1/8 in. (93.7 x 71.4 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.
Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, New York, NY.
Oil on canvas. New York Historical Society, New York, NY.
Daughter (1783—1813) of Aaron Burr.
Oil on wood panel; 10 x 8 in ( 25.4 x 20.3 cm). New-York Historical Society, New York, NY.
Oil on canvas; 46 1/4 x 35 1/4 in ( 117.5 x 89.5 cm). New-York Historical Society, New York, NY.
Oil on canvas. The White House Collection, Washington, DC.
Oil on canvas. The White House Historical Collection, White House Blue Room, Washington, DC.
Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian), Washington, DC.