Born: Springfield, Pennsylvania 1738
Died: London, England 1820
oil on paperboard 32 3/8 x 25 5/8 in. (82.2 x 65.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the U.S. Capitol
Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, South Wing
Six months before he died, West looked unflinchingly into the mirror to paint his self-portrait. He holds a drawing pencil and wears a painter's robe and beaver hat, which identify him as a founder and president of the Royal Academy of Art. The light is strongest on his face and hands, but the rest of the picture falls into shadow, as if he foresaw his own end. West was official painter to the King of England and the first American artist to gain an international reputation. His example led generations of American artists to measure their art and professional identities by European standards.
Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006
Dress - accessory - hat
Object - art tool
Occupation - art - painter
Portrait male - West, Benjamin - self-portrait
Portrait male - West, Benjamin - waist length
paint - oil
About Benjamin West
Born: Springfield, Pennsylvania 1738 Died: London, England 1820
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