Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Art of Edwin White

Edwin D. White (1817-1877) was one of America's most gifted historical painters. He took up painting as a boy and, after studying abroad in Paris, Rome, Florence and Dusseldorf, returned home to achieve great success, notably in painting the iconic Signing of the Mayflower Compact (which later inspired the 5 cent 1920 Pilgrim Tercentenary stamp, part of the only series of U.S. stamps not to reference "United States," "U.S.," or "America" on account of the event's importance in world history); Washington Resigning His Commission (which is displayed at the Maryland State Legislature in Annapolis); and Pocahontas Informing John Smith of the Conspiracy of the Indians. Among his other works are Leonardo Da Vinci and His Pupils; Van Dyck in the Studio of Rubens; View of the Arno from the Ponte Trinita; Milton's Visit to Galileo in Prison; and The Old Age of Milton.

A descendant of Elder John White, one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut, Edwin White had a particular interest in historical paintings of religious significance; besides the Pilgrim scenes referenced above, he also painted the Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving and Separation of the Pilgrims at Delft Haven; Bunyan's Dream; The First Printing of the Bible; The Emigrants' Sabbath; The Sacred Lesson; A Morning With Luther; Luther's Vow; The Death-Bed of Luther; Landing of the Huguenots at the Mouth of the St. John's River, 1564; and Evening Hymn of the Huguenot Refugees (which has been reproduced on notecards by the National Huguenot Society).

White's paintings bring alive some of the most significant moments of history, and combining an interest in our Protestant heritage, with his exquisite skill, his legacy is worthy of remembrance.

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