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File:Benjamin Franklin 1767.jpg


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This image was selected as picture of the day on Wikimedia Commons for 26 July 2010. It was captioned as follows:

English: Benjamin Franklin 1767
Title Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
Date 1767
Medium oil on canvas on panel
Dimensions 127.2 × 101.4 cm (50.1 × 39.9 in)
Washington, D.C., United States
English: Notes from Kloss, William, et al. Art in the White House: A Nation's Pride. Washington, D.C.: The White House Historical Association, 2008:

"[T]he portrait [of Benjamin Franklin] was commissioned by Robert Alexander, of the firm of William Alexander & Sons, Edinburgh. . . . The impressive beribboned document held by Franklin in the portrait is not a treaty or an Act of Parliament, but one of Alexander's deeds! The other books and pamphlets suggest the learned evidence brought in support of a wise man's decision. . . . [T]he bust of Isaac Newton, whose gaze is directed toward Franklin, invokes the greatest English voice of Reason. . . .
"[T]he portrait nonetheless sits squarely in the broader tradition of Enlightenment . . . . The pressure of the thumb against the chin . . . expresses the pressure of concentrated thought (the painting has sometimes been called the 'thumb portrait'), and the refracted light of Franklin's spectacles on his cheek furthers the effect."

Additional painting notes at National Portrait Gallery
Français : Traduction de notes tirées de Art in the White House: A Nation's Pride (Soit : « L'art de la maison Blanche : la fierté d'une nation ») par Kloss, William et coll.

"Le portrait [de Benjamin Franklin] a été commandé par Robert Alexander, de la firme William Alexander & Sons, à Édimbourg. L'impressionant document couvert de scellés que tient Franklin dans le portrait n'est pas un traité ni un délibéré du parlement, mais un acte notarié produit par le commanditaire...! Les autres livres suggèrent la culture nécéssaire au jugement d'un homme sage. Le buste de Newton, dont le regard est directement tourné vers Franklin, évoque l'un des sommets de la raison anglaise.

Ce portrait est fermement ancré dans la pensée des lumières. La pression du pouce sur le menton exprime la pression de la pensée concentrée, et le reflet des lunettes de Franklin sur sa pommette renforce cet effet. Pour cette raison, ce portrait a parfois été appellé « Le portrait au pouce ».
Source/Photographer The White House Historical Association


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