Benjamin West (1738-1820) A British North American Artist Painted Famous Historical Scenes

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Paintings by Benjamin West

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Benjamin West (1738-1820) was a British North American artist, who painted famous historical scenes such as The Death of Nelson, The Death of General Wolfe, and Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky.

Entirely self-taught, West soon gained valuable patronage, and he toured Europe, eventually settling in London. He impressed King George III and was largely responsible for the launch of the Royal Academy, of which he became the second president (after Sir Joshua Reynolds). He was appointed historical painter to the court and Surveyor of the King’s Pictures.

West also painted religious subjects, as in his huge work The Preservation of St Paul after a Shipwreck at Malta, at the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul in Greenwich, and Christ Healing the Sick, presented to the National Gallery.

Many American artists studied under Benjamin West in London, including Ralph Earl and later his son, Ralph Eleaser Whiteside Earl, Samuel Morse, Robert Fulton, Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, Matthew Pratt, Gilbert Stuart, John Trumbull, Washington Allston, Thomas Sully, John Green, and Abraham Delanoy.

Artworks of Benjamin West

Robert Monckton, 1762
Pylades and Orestes Brought as Victims before Iphigenia, 1766
Treaty of Penn with Indians, 1772
Isaac’s Servant Tying the Bracelet on Rebecca’s Arm, 1775
Two Officers and a Groom in a Landscape, 1777, Princeton University Art Museum
Welsh moral philosopher Richard Price, 1784
Death of a Stag or Alexander III of Scotland Rescued from the Fury of a Stag by the Intrepidity of Colin Fitzgerald, 1786
King Lear and Cordelia, 1793
The Woman Clothed with the Sun Fleeth from the Persecution of the Dragon, c. 1797, Princeton University Art Museum
Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant, 1800
Cupid and Psyche, 1808
Omnia Vincit Amor, 1809
John Eardley Wilmot, 1812
Self-Portrait, 1819
Painting of the American delegations at the Treaty of Paris. The British delegation refused to pose, and the painting was never completed, 1783–1784.
The Battle of La Hogue, c. 1778, National Gallery of Art