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  • Edwd Everett.painting

Edward Everett


Moses Wright


Faneuil Hall  


Faneuil Hall
United States








Oil on Canvas




Edward Everett (1794-1865) was one of the great speakers in the period leading up to the Civil War. He is depicted here with his hand outstretched in an oratorical gesture that emphasizes his skill as a wordsmith. In his day, his skill at making speeches was only surpassed by President Abraham Lincoln. (Everett himself once admitted that his two hour speech at the dedication of the national cemetery on the Gettysburg battlefield was trumped by Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which only lasted two minutes.) Everett was born in Dorchester and attended Harvard College; he went to Europe for further study following his graduation, making him the first American to earn a doctorate from a German university. He held an impressive range of private and public offices, including: minister of the Brattle Street Church in Boston; Harvard Professor of Greek; member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts; Governor of Massachusetts; Ambassador to Great Britain; President of Harvard, and United States Senator from Massachusetts. Everett’s portrait, by Moses Wright (1827-1895), illustrates Everett surrounded by symbols of government and learning. The Greek columns in the background give the painting a strong Classical sensibility, connecting the democracy of ancient Greece with that of America. Additionally, the columns are visually echoed by Everett’s solid, upright form, and contrasted against the billowing red drapery that frames the composition. The inkwell by Everett’s right hand further accentuates his intellectual ferocity. The portrait currently can be found in Faneuil Hall. 

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