USA ORiginals - (Austin Franklin)

One of the major styles in the artistic history of America, is the use of portraits. A strong understanding of both proportion and symmetry are needed to pull off a meaningful portrait, while also the use of lines and color to really bring the focus to the individual. We use portraits as a means to capture the presence of a person valuable to our history. A few of the most important portraits in American history are the representation of our Founding Fathers. 

Benjamin Franklin, One of the key members of the Founding Fathers. He was crucial in the development and conception of the Declaration of Independence. Different than most portraits, value was used greatly to empathize Franklin as the focus of this painting. The value also highlights the almost real looking texture of Franklin’s face.
John Adams, A strong advocate for separation from Britain. He helped create the Declaration of Independence, and is the one who debated for its acceptance in front of Congress. He later went on to become the second US President, in 1797. The negative space around Adams, and the color of his clothing helps him stand out as the focus of the painting.
Alexander Hamilton, while he never quite completely believed in the constitution, was a strong advocate for its ratification. He is majorly responsible for getting the thirteen states to accept the new constitution and bring all the states together. With most of the color reserved for Hamilton’s face, his clothing and background become less in focus. Also the single white strand of hair in his already graying hair gives you a good feel for his age which was 49, just before he died.
John Jay, while not a signer of the Constitution, was an inspiration to its creation. As one of the authors of the Federalist papers, he advocated for a strong government that operated in a balanced system. A more relaxed portrait with the addition of his books and the paper in his hand, giving it a sense of unity with the life Jay lived as a diplomat and and Chief Justice
Thomas Jefferson, was definitely one of the most famous Founding Fathers. He is most remembered as the author of the Declaration of Independence. In this portrait the detail in the eyes, the hair, and Jefferson’s face, show a great use of lines and finite color to make it seem almost real. The red on his cheeks and the lights in his eyes are are the first things that pull your focus.
James Madison, known as the “Father of the Constitution”. He was heavily involved in the creation of both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. A very serious and refined portrait, the detail in the sharp eyes and nose instantly attract your attention. A great use of light and dark also help to emphasize the almost life-like aspects of the painting.
George Washington, the first President of the United States of America and a major part in its creation. One of the major components of this painting is the age and stress represented in Washington’s face. At the time of this painting he was 63 years old. The use of color in the shades of very light pink to a very rosy pink help to emphasize his age. Also a good use of lines to show the amount of wrinkles that age and stress had created.
James Monroe, was the last of the Founding Fathers to hold office becoming the 5th President of the United States. The use of lines in the jawline and in the eyes and an excellent use of shadowing around both help to bring the face into focus. The lighter background focused around his neck gives Monroe an almost towering effect over the viewer.
Rufus King, a successful debater was crucial in the groundwork laid out for the constitution. The portrait is able to capture his very easy going but very intellectual attitude. Sitting as if he has been working on something, King is very calm in this painting. The lighter background also helps to create a calmer scene.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, is one of the lesser known Founding Fathers. He was one of the most active members of congress and sat on over one-hundred different boards. In this portrait it is the representation of young Charles Carroll, done in a less realist fashion. The almost perfect shape of the skin with very light touches of red in the cheeks are to represent his age. The background of nothing back negative space also really brings your attention in towards the face. The clothing also has an almost analogous color scheme which gives an almost pleasing appeal to the young Carroll.
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