Painting Patriotism, Healing Wounds: The Art of Col. John Trumbull
Length: 45 minutes
Keywords: American Revolution, Early US Republic, Early US Art History, John Trumbull, Early American families, labor history, historical memory
The American artist John Trumbull is often remembered as the painter of the American Revolution and the man who captured artistically the most iconic images of nation’s founding period. Much of our sense of how the revolutionary period and the founding fathers looked comes from the drawn-from-life images Trumbull went to great pains to create, whose originals line the walls of places such as the Capitol rotunda in Washington and engravings of which are found on our currency. Yet the road to fame was a difficult one for Trumbull. At a time when artists were looked upon as mere skilled workers, he fought for both status and respect, especially from his father, Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut. This richly illustrated talk discusses the lifelong struggle of John Trumbull to earn respect for his art by painting what he told Thomas Jefferson were some of the “noblest series of actions which have ever presented themselves in the history of man.” It’s a Connecticut family story about a talented son and a demanding father, one that made a very lasting impression on the American memory.