The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, 1786-1820
Photo courtesy of the Yale...
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Photo courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery, Trumbull Collection

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The artist has shown the interior of the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House (now called Independence Hall), as the committee that had been charged with drawing up the document presented it to the President and to the assembled Congress.

Trumbull's work shows the balance necessary to a history painter in the classical tradition. He traveled to see the original building, but "edited" the room's appearance; he went to great lengths to interview or obtain images of the members of Congress, but positioned them in accordance with the rules of history painting in the period.

Trumbull never met Franklin. However, he made good use of information and images of him, from studies and conversation with Benjamin West in London in 1784 to paintings, prints and conversation with Jefferson in Paris in 1786.

This painting is the source for an engraving that is part of Trumbull's classic series on the Revolution. It is also the study for a monumental painting by Trumbull in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

An image can be found here.
Connection to Franklin
Historical scene depicting Franklin
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