"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Friday, June 24, 2016

Benjamin Henry Latrobe

This c. 1790 portrait of Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820) by Charles Frederick von Breda hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.
"Benjamin Latrobe was the most important architect of the early republic, transforming the discipline from an avocation for amateurs to a profession with standards and practices. Latrobe trained several of America’s next generation of architects, including the designer of this building (The National Portrait Gallery), Robert Mills. Born in England, Latrobe trained there and in Germany. He but we know little of Latrobe’s early work because his records were lost at sea when he immigrated to America in 1795–96. His influential American buildings include the Philadelphia Water Works, New York City Hall, and redesigns of the Capitol and White House after they were burned in the War of 1812. Latrobe and artist Charles Frederick von Breda were at the beginning of their careers in London when this portrait was made. Von Breda created it to recall the lively and successful composition of a larger painting now in the collection of the Maryland Historical Society." -- National Portrait Gallery

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