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File:Discovery of the Mississippi.jpg


Description William H. Powell was the last artist to be commissioned by the Congress for a painting in the Rotunda. His dramatic and brilliantly colored canvas shows Spanish conqueror and explorer Hernando DeSoto, riding a white horse, the first European to view the Mississippi River, in 1541. As De Soto and his troops approach, the Native Americans in front of their tepees watch, and a chief holds out a peace pipe. In the foreground is a jumble of weapons and soldiers, suggesting the attack they had suffered shortly before. To the right, a monk prays as a crucifix is set in the ground.
Powell (1823–1879) was born in New York and raised in Ohio. He studied art in Italy and worked on the painting in Paris. He also painted The Battle of Lake Erie, which hangs in the east Senate Grand Staircase in the Capitol.

The dimensions of this oil painting on canvas are 365.76 cm by 548.64 cm (144.00 in by 216.00 in).
Date 1847
Source Architect of the Capitol
Author William H. Powell (photograph courtesy Architect of the Capitol)


Public domain This image is a work of an employee of the Architect of the Capitol, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, all images created or made by the Architect of the Capitol are in the public domain, with the exception of classified information. Architect of the Capitol logo
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