Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

Joseph Siffred Duplessis French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 631

When Franklin arrived in France in December 1776 to negotiate aid for the American Revolutionary War, he was already a celebrity known for his simple dress and refusal to wear a wig. He stayed in a house provided by Jacques Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont, who commissioned a terracotta medallion with his profile as well as this portrait by Duplessis, which was exhibited at the Salon of 1779. It quickly became the most iconic image of this legendary statesman. Its original frame includes the attributes of Liberty, Peace, and Victory, with an inscription not of the sitter’s name, but VIR, Latin for "man" or "hero." Franklin’s identity was evidently understood to be obvious from his face alone.

#5018. Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), Joseph Siffred Duplessis (French, Carpentras 1725–1802 Versailles), Oil on canvas

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