Portrait medallion of Benjamin Franklin (Nini/Vallayer), 1778-1779
Collection of Stuart E....
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Collection of Stuart E. Karu. Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004

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This portrait takes Franklin a step further toward the ranks of the classical heroes. His head and neck are shown in profile; his hair is cropped at the base of his skull; his contemporary clothing is omitted, removing him from his own time. The portrait is in high relief; there is a narrow (3/8-inch) moulded edge. Within the moulding is his name: B.FRANKLIN; and the French transliteration of Turgot's Latin motto: IL DIRIGE LA FOUDRE ET BRAVE LES TIRANS.
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