|John Trumbull Self-portrait, 1777|
The artist, of course, was John Trumbull, and anyone who has ever cracked an American history book has, no doubt, seen the painting. Trumbull was fortunate enough to have been a young man when he started it. He was born in 1756 in Lebanon, Connecticut, and it takes very little math to quickly realize that date and place, just twenty years before the American Revolution puts the man front and center for one of the most dramatic episodes in the history of the whole world. Trumbull was just finishing up at Harvard when the war started. He'd already begun a painting career studying with John Singleton Copley in Boston, and not unlike many young men inconvenienced by impending war, he split the country. He went to England to study painting with fellow countryman, Benjamin West. Perhaps feeling guilty however, he returned shortly to find himself appointed as an aide-de-camp to no less than the commanding general, Washington himself.
|The Declaration of Independence, 1795, John Trumbull|
|Since 1976, the reverse side of the much-maligned two-dollar bill has |
featured a slightly cropped etching of Trumbull's thirty-year painting effort.