Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Rembrandt Peale

The Sisters (Eleanor and Rosalba Peale)
oil on canvas
Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA
other detail unknown (for more paintings of this artist)

Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860), born in Pennsylvania, shares a birthday with George Washington, was an American painter, writer, and portraitist of prominent figures in Europe and the post-Revolutionary United States.

Since he was a son of famous painter Charles Willson Peale, he began drawing at the age of eight. He created some idealized portraits of mostly famous Americans. In 1795, at the age of 17, Rembrandt painted an aging Washington, making him appear far more aged than in reality. The portrait was well received, and Rembrandt had made his debut.

Throughout his life, he traveled across the Western Hemisphere in search of inspiration and opportunities as an artist. His father helped pay his way to Paris, where he stayed from June to September 1808, and again from October 1809 to November 1810. In Paris, he studied the works of Jacques-Louis David, which influenced him to paint in the Neoclassical style. After his successes in France, he returned to Philadelphia in 1810. In 1812 he established the Peale Museum in Baltimore in an effort to provide public education in the arts. By 1826, he decided to relocate to Boston. A few years later he visited Italy, where he made copies of paintings by Renaissance and Baroque masters. In 1831 he settled in Philadelphia, where he died in 1860. He was a founder of the Pennsylvania School of the Fine Arts and was a president of the Academy of Fine Arts in New York.