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Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
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Portrait of Benjamin Franklin, result 1 of 1

Item Details
Open Artstor
Available to everyone
Culture
France, 18th century
Title
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
Work Type
Sculpture
Date
1777
Material
terracotta
Measurements
Diameter: 11.4 cm (4 1/2 in.)
Description
Scholars debate whether Nini met Benjamin Franklin personally or based the nine versions of his portrait on drawings by artist Thomas Walpole (British, 1755-1840). In this particular cast, Nini presents Franklin with a fur hat, which may be an allusion to French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, suggesting a comparison between the inventor and the philosopher and their roles in revolutionary politics on both sides of the Atlantic. Nini copied Franklin's fur hat from a portrait of Rousseau by Allan Ramsay (Scottish, 1713-1784). The small crest below Franklin's left shoulder shows a bolt of lightning striking an iron bar held by a hand-- a reference to Franklin's discovery of the lightning rod and electricity.
--Molly Bloom (August 2013)
inscribed along the circumference: B. FRANKLIN. AMERICAIN; inscribed below: NINI F 1777 [with coat-of-arms].
Repository
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Collection: Sculpture
Department: European Painting and Sculpture
Provenance: James Parmelee (Washington, DC), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.
Estate of James Parmelee, by bequest to the Cleveland Museum of Art, 1940.
Bequest of James Parmelee
Accession Number
Source
Image and original data from The Cleveland Museum of Art
License
Use of this image is in accordance with the Artstor Terms & Conditions
File Properties
File Name
1940.578_full.tif
SSID
24589065

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