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Art History Browser \ Neoclassical Art \ Benjamin West Gallery

Benjamin West (1738-1820) was an Anglo-American painter of historical scenes around and after the time of the American War of Independence. He was the second president of the Royal Academy serving from 1792 to 1805 and 1806 to 1820. From 1746 to 1759, West worked in Pennsylvania, mostly painting portraits. While in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, West's patron, a gunsmith named William Henry, encouraged him to design a "Death of Socrates" based on an engraving in Charles Rollin's Ancient History; the resulting composition, which significantly differs from West's source, has been called "the most ambitious and interesting painting produced in colonial America."   more from wikipedia »