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  • General+Warren

General Joseph Warren

Artist:

Unknown

Location:

Faneuil Hall  

Location

Faneuil Hall
United States
42° 21' 36.324" N, 71° 3' 22.4028" W

Neighborhood:

Downtown

Type:

Painting

Year:

Unknown

Medium:

Oil on Canvas

Collection:

Funders:

Description:

Joseph Warren (1741-1775) was a respected Boston physician but also a political firebrand, delivering passionate speeches at Faneuil Hall in support of the Sons of Liberty. In particular, Warren’s death while serving as a soldier at the Battle of Bunker Hill made him an early popular hero of the American Revolution. This painting is a copy of John Singleton Copley’s portrait of Joseph Warren that currently hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This unknown painter, however, made some interesting changes to the composition; in Copley’s depiction, Warren is presented as a gentleman of wealth and luxury, surrounded by elegant pink drapery and a grand granite column, wearing silk stockings, ruffled sleeves, and a jacket with embroidered buttons. In contrast, the painter of this Faneuil Hall portrait crops the composition, only showing us Warren’s casually opened waistcoat and his subdued black clothes. Furthermore, the Faneuil Hall portrait omits the glimpse of landscape Copley provides in his original work, giving this painting a more intimate, inner focus. The emphasis here is on Warren’s psychological state as opposed to the signifiers of his success. However, this could be an entirely accidental effect - Copley was renowned for his ability to render texture and detail and this painter simply may not have possessed the skill to depict the many accoutrements Copley showcased in his original work.

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