The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of Human Events...

John Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776"

Trumbull's Declaration of Independence

Artist: John Trumbull
Oil on canvas, 12' x 18'

Commissioned 1817; purchased 1819; placed 1826 in the Rotunda

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The first painting that Trumbull completed for the Rotunda shows the presentation of the Declaration of Independence in what is now called Independence Hall, Philadelphia.

The painting features the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence — John Adams, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson (presenting the document), and Benjamin Franklin — standing before John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress.

The painting includes portraits of 42 of the 56 signers and 5 other patriots. The artist sketched the individuals and the room from life.

Look closely to see that Thomas Jefferson appears to be standing on John Adams's foot! While this is probably due to the painting being retouched, the thought is fun.

This depiction can also be found on the back of the U.S. $2 bill (with Jefferson's foot moved!)


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Copyright ©1999- by the Independence Hall Association, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in 1942. Publishing electronically as On the Internet since July 4, 1995.

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