Compare And Contrast Benjamin West And John Trumbull

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Conflict and war in America in the 18th century had a profound impact on the paintings created during that time period. Artists focused on capturing important battles and deaths of important people on canvas. Two famous artists during this time period were Benjamin West and John Trumbull. Benjamin West was born in Pennsylvania in 1738, but left the colonies permanently to study art in Europe in 1759. He settled in England, where he served as King George III painter, and helped found the Royal Academy. John Trumbull, who was born in 1756 in Connecticut, spent some time in the Continental Army as a map maker. In 1780, he went to London and became a student of West. Benjamin West, in his painting entitled The Death of General Wolfe in 1770, …show more content…
Both of the paintings focused on one battle during a war that resulted in the death of an important historical figure, a general. While West painted the image of a scene in the French and Indian War, Trumbull captured a scene from the American Revolution. Both artists sought to have these images made into engravings that could be sold to the public. The elimination of gore, blood loss, and violence in the depictions makes the scene of death not accurate to the actual battle. While West experienced success with his engravings, Trumbull was seen as unpatriotic since he resided in England. Both artists included a Native American in the group surrounding the dying general. In the West painting, “he is present as a reminder of the locale of the battle-the North American colonies- and the role indigenous peoples played in the wars between the British and the French”(p.77). West’s depicted the Native American deep in thought, contemplating the death of General Wolfe. This differed from Trumbull’s Native American placed close to the general and involved in the action. This figure shows great emotion as he turned and raised his tomahawk over his head. These artists recognize the location and role of the Native Americans in the conflicts over land and rights in their

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