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

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Benjamin Silliman

This 1825 portrait of Benjamin Silliman (1779-1864) by John Trumbull hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
"Appointed Yale College's first professor of chemistry and natural history in 1802, Benjamin Silliman (trained in the law) went to Philadelphia, London, and Edinburgh for exposure to the world of science. Over the next fifty years, Silliman became renowned as an educator, influential as the founder and editor of the American Journal of Science. A popular national figure on the lecture circuit, he entertained audiences with drawings and demonstrations and provided assurances that discoveries in science need not threaten biblical teachings.

Silliman's portrait was painted in New York, where he was engaged in the fatiguing work of raising money to keep the finest mineral collection in America at Yale. He posed before breakfast at six o'clock in the morning for one and a half hours, and recorded that John Trumbull, his friend and uncle by marriage, 'painted very rapidly.'" -- National Portrait Gallery

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