After returning to the United States from London in 1789, Trumbull spent five years traveling up and down the Eastern Seaboard taking “heads” from life, mainly of statesmen and military officers. These exquisite works, which were preparatory to history paintings, stand out for their sensitive characterization and coloristic brilliance. The brushwork is fluid, with impastos and transparent glazes that produce contrasting textures. Trumbull’s portrait of the Italian sculptor Giuseppe Ceracchi (1751–1801) was probably painted in Philadelphia in 1792. The ambitious Neoclassical sculptor had come to the United States to raise funds for a proposed monument to American liberty.
probably with Van Hinsberg, Brussels, 1873; with Samuel Putnam Avery, New York, 1873; John Taylor Johnston, New York, by 1876; sale, Somerville Art Gallery, New York, 19 Dec. 1876, no. 109; with Samuel Putnam Avery, New York, 1876; Robert W. de Forest, New York, 1876– 1936; sale, American Art Association, New York, 29 Jan. 1936, no. 226; with M. Knoedler and Company, New York, 1936