Greatest American Painters

John Trumbull (1756 – 1843)

Posted by A. S. Amberson on October 14, 2012

General George Washington Resigning His Commission (December 23, 1783)

Alexander Hamilton

Governor Jonathan Trumbull Sr. And Mrs. Trumbull (Faith Robinson)

The Misses Mary And Hannah Murray

George Washington

Asher Brown Durand

The Death Of General Mercer At The Battle Of Princeton (January 3, 1777)

John Adams

Professor Benjamin Silliman

Holy Family

The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill (June 17, 1775)

Colonel Joseph Bull

Major Roger Alden

Captain Samuel Blodget In Rifle Dress


George Washington Before The Battle Of Trenton

George Codwise

Mrs. George Codwise (Anna Maria Codwise)

Surrender Of Lord Cornwallis At Yorktown (October 19, 1781)

George Gallagher, New York

Samuel Miles Hopkins

Sarah Elizabeth Rogers Hopkins

The Death Of Paulus Aemilius At The Battle Of Cannae (August 2, 216 BC)

William Brown

Mrs. Isaac Bronson (née Anna Olcott)

The Sortie Made By The Garrison Of Gibralter (November 27, 1781)

Sarah Trumbull On Her Deathbed

Self Portrait 1802

Giuseppe Ceracchi

Arthur Wellesley, Duke Of Wellington

Mrs. Charles Carroll Jr. (Harriet Chew)

(other paintings)

2 Responses to “John Trumbull (1756 – 1843)”

  1. Bruce said

    Lots of historical people here, well-known and otherwise. Does anybody want me to identify them all and bore everybody else to tears? Huh? No?

    Well, OK, then. I can take a hint. Just let me talk a bit about one especially interesting painting: “Belisarius.”

    Flavius Belisarius (ca. 500 – 565 AD) was the greatest general in the history of the Byzantine Empire. An ordinary soldier as a young man, he came to the attention of Emperor Justin who made him one of his bodyguards.

    Belisarius worked his way up the ranks as a result of his close association with Justin and Justin’s nephew and successor, Justinian. He was a general by age 27 or so.

    To make a long story extremely short, over the next 20 years, Belisarius’ armies reconquered much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire which had been lost in the previous century. It is estimated that Belisarius and Justinian succeeded in expanding the Byzantine Empire by an astounding 45% in these years.

    But, fame is fleeting and gratitude often lacking, as they say. In 562, Belisarius was tried for corruption, a charge which scholars call “trumped-up.” Meaning, somebody wanted him taken down. He was found guilty and imprisoned.

    Now, the official account is, Justinian subsequently pardoned him, ordered his release, and restored him to favor at the imperial court. However, there is this legend . . .

    It goes like this. “Justinian is said to have ordered Belisarius’ eyes to be put out, and reduced him to the status of homeless beggar near the Pincian Gate of Rome, condemned to asking passers-by to ‘give an obolus [an ancient silver coin] to Belisarius’ before pardoning him. Most modern scholars believe the story to be apocryphal, though Philip Stanhope, a 19th century British philologist who wrote ‘Life of Belisarius’ — the only exhaustive biography of the great general — believed the story to be true.”

    So, apparently, did John Trumbull. In his painting, Belisarius is not squinting at something on the ground. He is blind and he is holding out his hand for alms.

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