Skip to main content

Thomas Jefferson

Artist
Charles Willson Peale, 15 Apr 1741 - 22 Feb 1827
Sitter
Thomas Jefferson, 13 Apr 1743 - 4 Jul 1826
Date
1791
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Image: 61 x 50.8cm (24 x 20")
Frame: 66 x 55.9cm (26 x 22")
Credit Line
Owner: Independence National Historical Park
Website: www.nps.gov/inde/
Object number
13.131
Exhibition Label
In 1791, Charles Willson Peale added this portrait of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson to his museum's collection of American heroes. Jefferson appears younger than his fifty years, perhaps evoking the young man the artist remembered as the Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress. Jefferson was well known to Americans in 1791, having also served as governor of Virginia and ambassador to France. Notwithstanding George Washington's desire for unity in his administration, Jefferson quickly found himself at odds with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, whose power and influence on the president rivaled his own. Jefferson favored a smaller, weaker national government, with more power residing in the states, and closer ties to France; Hamilton argued for a powerful national government allied to Great Britain. From these differences the first American party system-Democratic-Republicans (Jefferson) versus Federalists (Hamilton)-was born.
Data Source
Catalog of American Portraits
See more items in
Catalog of American Portraits