Gilbert Stuart
James Monroe, c. 1817
Oil on wood
25 1/2 x 21 5/8 in. (64.8 x 55 cm)
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund 1979.4.3
Image Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington


5th President of the United States; Term of Office: 1817-1825
This portrait of James Monroe painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1817 during his 1st year in office, shows the 5th president of the United States as confident and poised. The depiction exudes a sense of conventional decorum, while hinting at the sitter’s personal charm. Stuart provides an image of a competent leader whose wealth and sophistication were balanced by his frank demeanor and attention to the westward expansion and growing economic prosperity of the nation.
Monroe was the 1st president to tour every state. He helped secure the purchase of Florida from Spain and fixed the western, southern, and northern boundaries of the United States to the 42nd parallel. He also set clear limits on the economic and colonial interests of Europe on American soil and advocated for the formation of an African colony that could be home to freed slaves.


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