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Celebrity's Picture: Using Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Portraits to Observe Historic Changes

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Portrait of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Eastman Johnson, 1846

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Portrait of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Eastman Johnson, 1846 / NPS, Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site

Patronizing a promising fellow Mainer, Longfellow invited artist Eastman Johnson to portray eleven of his family members and best friends in Cambridge during the fall of 1846.

Drawings made included himself, his two sons, his sisters, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph W. Emerson, and Charles Sumner. Several of the drawings still hang in the study and parlor of the Craigie House.

Johnson studied art in Düsseldorf in 1849 and learned an attention to 'detail, accurate drawing, elaborate finish, and easily understood subject matter' that transformed him a virtuoso genre painter. (Quote from Matthew Baigell, <span class="book_title">A Concise History of American Painting and Sculpture</span>, (USA: Icon Editions, 1996), p. 80; see also p. 132.)


Item 19 of 35