Moses Seymour, Jr.

Ralph Earl (American, 1751-1801)1789

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, United States

At the age of fifteen, Moses Seymour Jr., sat for a portrait that honors both its sitter and implicitly, his father, the former Revolutionary War major from Litchfield, Connecticut, who commissioned this work. Like so many American painters of his generation, Earl studied with Benjamin West in London. Upon his return, he practiced his profession in his native Connecticut River Valley. Seymour's book and cane suggest that the young man reads and walks in harmony among nature's beauties, an activity that recalls the ideals of the ancient Roman poet Horace. In a pose that presses him close to the foreground, however, this cultured figure also conveys a message about man's domination over nature.

The painting remained in the sitter's family until it was given to the museum.

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  • Title: Moses Seymour, Jr.
  • Creator: Ralph Earl (American, 1751-1801)
  • Date Created: 1789
  • Physical Dimensions: Framed: 139.4 x 108.6 x 5.2 cm (54 7/8 x 42 3/4 x 2 1/16 in.); Unframed: 120.7 x 90.2 cm (47 1/2 x 35 1/2 in.)
  • Provenance: Commissioned by the Revolutionary War major Moses Seymour of Litchfield, CT; descended through family to George S. Lockwood, Cleveland
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/2003.285
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Inscriptions: Signed lower left: R Earl Pinxt 1789
  • Department: American Painting and Sculpture
  • Culture: America, 18th century
  • Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. George S. Lockwood, Jr. in loving memory of her husband
  • Collection: American - Painting
  • Accession Number: 2003.285

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