John Trumbull
Declaration of Independence, 1818, installed 1826
Oil on canvas
12 x 18 ft.
Photo courtesy of Architect of the Capitol

 

The signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, was a milestone in American history. The document stated the principles for which the Revolutionary War was being fought and which remain fundamental to the nation. Thomas Jefferson, its principal author, is shown placing the document before John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress. With him stand the other members of the authoring committee that created the draft (from left to right): John Adams, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, and Benjamin Franklin. This event occurred on June 28 in the Pennsylvania State House, now Independence Hall, in Philadelphia.
John Trumbull (1756–1843), the son of a Connecticut governor, graduated from Harvard College. After serving in the Continental Army, he studied history painting with Benjamin West in London. This is the first completed painting of four Revolutionary scenes the U.S. Congress commissioned from him in 1817.

 

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