|Declaration of Independence|
|Year||commissioned 1817; purchased 1819;|
date of creation 1818;
1826 placed in the Rotunda
|Dimensions||3.7 m× 5.5 m(12 ft× 18 ft)|
|Location||U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., U.S.|
Declaration of Independence is a 12-by-18-foot (3.7 by 5.5 m) oil-on-canvas painting by American John Trumbull depicting the presentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence to Congress. It was based on a much smaller version of the same scene, presently held by the Yale University Art Gallery. 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 commissioned in 1817, purchased in 1819, and placed in the United States Capitol rotunda in 1826.
The painting is sometimes incorrectly described as the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The painting shows the five-man drafting committee presenting their draft of the Declaration to the Congress, an event that took place on June 28, 1776, and not the signing of the document, which took place later.
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 V 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 never were in the same room at the same time.
In the painting, Thomas Jefferson appears to be stepping on John Adams' foot, which many thought was supposed to symbolize their relationship as friendly rivals. However, upon closer examination of the painting, 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.
Three British ensigns and a single English ensign can be seen hanging on the farthest wall in the painting, though this is not depicted in all versions, most notably the one seen on the two-dollar bill.
The following key to the 47 figures in the painting follows the numbering used by the U.S. government publication "Art of the Capitol" (in the illustration of the key shown in this section) but provides a different (hopefully clearer) description of which figure is where in the painting, so numbers are not entirely in order.
Key to figures (in each group, listed from left to right):
Four men seated on the far left:
Seated at the table on the left:
Seated together to the right of Harrison and in front of the standing figures:
Five figures standing together on the left:
Three seated figures in the back between the two sets of standing figures:
Set of three figures standing together in the back:
Ten figures seated:
Five figures standing in front (the Committee of Five):
Four background figures seated together near the right corner of the room:
Two figures standing in the right corner of the room:
Two foreground figures at the central table:
Three figures standing at right:
Two figures seated at far right:
(Note: - Not a signer of the final Declaration of Independence but depicted in painting. Although Charles Thomson was one of two members listed by name in the earlier Dunlap Broadside as having attested to the Declaration, and many historians believe he had signed the original document that was lost. Clinton was not present at the signing of the Declaration.)
There were 14 signers of the Declaration who did not appear in the painting:
Trumbull's Declaration of Independence signing scene painting has been depicted several times on United States currency and postage stamps. It was first used on the reverse side of the $100 National Bank Note that was issued in 1863.The depiction was engraved by Frederick Girsch of the American Bank Note Company. The same steel engraving was used on the 24¢ stamp issued six years later as part of the 1869 pictorial series of definitive U.S. postage stamps.
Trumbull's painting is presently depicted on the reverse of the two-dollar bill. Featured in it are 40 of the 47 figures from Trumbull's painting. Cut out from the scene are: the farthest four figures on the left—George Wythe, William Whipple, Josiah Bartlett, and Thomas Lynch, Jr.; the farthest two figures on the right—Thomas McKean and Philip Livingston; and one of three figures seated in the left rear—George Walton. Additionally, two unrecognized figures were added: one in between Samuel Chase and Lewis Morris and another between James Wilson and Francis Hopkinson, bringing the total number of figures shown in this presentation scene to 42.
Trumbull painted a smaller version (only 20.875 by 31 inches (53.02 cm × 78.74 cm)) entitled The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 (1786–1820) that is now on view at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.
In 2017, the company Ancestry.com restaged the painting with the 29 living descendants of the men depicted in Trumbull's painting as part of an advertising campaign called “Declaration Descendants".The campaign included two short films and ran on digital and social media platforms. Shannon Lanier, the sixth great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson, said: “When you see the new picture, the new image, it’s a picture of diverse people. Black, white, Hispanic, Native American—a little bit of everything—Asian, and that’s more of a representation of this country".
In September 2019 Arlen Parsa, a filmmaker from Chicago, published an image of the painting with red dots covering the faces of those that enslaved people to his twitter account.Parsa's research identified 34 of the 47 men depicted as slave holders, this was fact-checked by PolitiFact who rated the statement as "true". PolitiFact stated "We found strong evidence to back the claim on the 34, recognizing there is no one definitive source on the question."
The 34 men depicted who were enslavers are:
The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration explained why the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain regarded themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
George Clymer was an American politician and Founding Father of the United States. He was one of the first Patriots to advocate complete independence from Britain, and like many of his peers, a slaveowner. As a Pennsylvania representative, Clymer was, along with five others, a signatory of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He attended the Continental Congress, and served in political office until the end of his life.
Francis Lewis was a Welsh merchant and signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New York.
William Whipple Jr. was a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Hampshire and a member of the Continental Congress from 1776 through 1779. He worked as both a ship's captain and a merchant, and he studied in college to become a judge. He died of heart complications in 1785, aged 55.
John Trumbull was an American artist of the early independence period, notable for his historical paintings of the American Revolutionary War, of which he was a veteran. He has been called "The Painter of the Revolution".
The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American leaders who united the Thirteen Colonies, led the war for independence from Great Britain, and built a frame of government for the new United States of America upon republican principles during the latter decades of the 18th century.
Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia is an important early-American cemetery. It is the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin and his wife, Deborah. Four other signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried here, Benjamin Rush, Francis Hopkinson, Joseph Hewes and George Ross. Two more signers are buried at Christ Church just a few blocks away.
Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States is a 1940 oil-on-canvas painting by Howard Chandler Christy, depicting the Constitutional Convention signing the U.S. Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Along with Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, the painting is one of the most famous depictions of the early days of the United States. Christy created the painting in April 1940; it is so large that he painted it in a sail loft. It currently is displayed along the east stairway in the House of Representatives wing in the Capitol building.
The Syng inkstand is a silver inkstand used during the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the United States Constitution in 1787. Besides paper documents, it is one of four still-existing objects that were present during the Constitutional Convention, along with the Liberty Bell, the chair that George Washington sat in as the Constitutional Convention's presiding officer, and Independence Hall itself.
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Christ Church is an Episcopal church in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia. Founded in 1695 as a parish of the Church of England, it played an integral role in the founding of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. In 1785, its rector, William White, became the first Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Benjamin Harrison VI (1755–1799) was an American merchant, planter, politician, and revolutionary. He was the son of Founding Father Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Harrison was a close friend of financier Robert Morris, a relationship that he would keep until his death. He was the older brother of President William Henry Harrison and the great-uncle of President Benjamin Harrison.
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Joseph Hopkinson was a United States Representative from Pennsylvania and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Events from the year 1791 in the United States.
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General George Washington Resigning His Commission is a large-scale oil painting by American artist John Trumbull of General George Washington resigning his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783 to the Congress of the Confederation, then meeting in the Maryland State House at Annapolis, Maryland. The painting was commissioned in 1817, started in 1822, finished in 1824, and is now on view in the United States Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C., along with three other large-scale paintings by Trumbull about the American Revolutionary War.
Quadrangle Dormitories – "The Quad" – are a complex of 39 conjoined residence houses at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The architectural firm of Cope and Stewardson designed the houses in an exuberant Neo-Jacobean version of the Collegiate Gothic style, and completed most of them between 1894 and 1912. The dormitories stretch from 36th to 38th Streets and from Spruce Street to Hamilton Walk. West of the Memorial Tower at 37th Street, the houses on the north side follow the diagonal of Woodland Avenue and form a long triangle with the houses on the south side. From 1895 to 1971, the dormitories housed only male students.