Portrait Miniature of Benjamin Franklin
Portrait Miniature of Benjamin Franklin Portrait Miniature of Benjamin Franklin
Portrait Miniature of Benjamin Franklin

Portrait Miniature of Benjamin Franklin

  • This exceptional miniature portrait captures the likeness of Benjamin Franklin
  • A statesman and a scientist, Franklin is among the most iconic early Americans in history
  • The miniature was painted in Paris during his period aboard as American ambassador to France
  • The diminutive work perfectly captures his famous down-to-earth persona
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Item No. 30-8853
$58,500
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description
Benjamin Franklin is perhaps one of the most iconic and popular early Americans in history. A statesman and a scientist, Franklin made a name for himself both in colonial America and abroad. He enjoyed a particularly devoted following in France. When he arrived in Paris in 1776 to negotiate aid for the Revolutionary War, he was already a popular celebrity. During his visit, the French artist Joseph Siffred Duplessis famously painted his portrait (Metropolitan Museum of Art), and this image has become the best known likeness of Franklin that exists today. The present miniature portrait is closely related to Duplessis' famed version in both composition and expression. Created by an artist of the French School, it is one of the very few lifetime miniatures of Franklin to still exist.

French society adored Franklin for his daring style and his refusal to bend to current French fashions. Instead, he famously wore a fur hat in his role of American ambassador, a choice that delighted the French court. He is depicted here in a similarly austere outfit. His simple, homespun brown suit was markedly contrasted to the fashionable European suits and powdered wigs that were so popular during the period. This signature, down-to-earth outfit came to represent the American cause, and he was able to successfully garner French support. Unsurprisingly, the outfit figured prominently in French portraits of Franklin, as evidenced by the present work.

Circa 1790

Miniature: 2 3/4" high x 2 1/4" wide
Frame: 5" high x 4 3/8" wide
specifications
Period: 18th Century
Origin:France
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