Portrait bust of Benjamin Franklin (Houdon - Athenaeum)
Photo courtesy of Boston...
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Photo courtesy of Boston Athenaeum

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In this expanded view, which shows Franklin's head, shoulders and upper arms, and includes his chest almost to the waist, Houdon has draped his torso in the unspecific cloak of a classical figure. Sellers suggests, p. 312, that the artist "contemplated a statue and wished thus to suggest the larger rendering."

It is interesting to note that, while classically draped figures of Washington appear to have been acceptable to Americans in the early 19th century, images of Franklin by American artists keep him in his contemporary dress.

According to Dean Walker (Poulet, p. 251), The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Angers owns a similar version. Jack Hinton, Curator of the Philadelphia Museum's exhibition below, provided significant assistance in the creation of this entry.

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