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Charles Willson Peale



Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) was an American painter during the 18th century. He was a portrait painter during the American revolution who is remembered for painting a portrait of George Washington. Peale was born and spent his youth in Maryland. He became an artist in the 1760s and was influenced by the painters John Hesselius and John Singleton Copley. Peale spent two years studying with the painter Benjamin West for two years in London, England. He fought in the military during the American Revolution. He gained recognition for painting portraits of famous officers, such as George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. In the years after the American Revolution, Peale continued his series of portraits painting the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton. In the latter half of Peale’s career, he became more interested in curation and being an inventor. He was the founder of the Philadelphia Museum and the Columbianum, one of the first art societies for artists in the United States. He was known for his expertise in using trompe l’oeil, where the artist paints realistically to the point of fooling the eye. Charles Willson Peale died in 1827 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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