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Part of The American Wing
John Smibert (American, Edinburgh, Scotland 1688–1751 Boston, Massachusetts)
Date: 1729Accession Number: 62.79.1
Date: 1729Accession Number: 62.79.2
Matthew Pratt (1734–1805)
Date: 1765Accession Number: 97.29.3
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The George M. and Linda H. Kaufman Galleries
By the beginning of the eighteenth century, portraiture was firmly established in colonial American cities as an art form embodying the ideals and tastes of a wealthy society. This gallery includes examples by the Scottish émigré John Smibert—who arrived in Rhode Island in 1729 with considerable skills and academic training and settled in Boston—as well as by America's first eminent native-born painter, John Singleton Copley, who created opulent images that captured his sitters' hopes and values on the eve of the American Revolution. The approaching war deprived many native-born artists of the opportunity to receive formal training in European artistic traditions. Still, the most ambitious followed Benjamin West to London, where his studio became the leading school for aspiring American painters.
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