Ezra Stiles (1727–1795), B.A. 1746, M.A. 1749 Artist: Samuel King (American, 1749–1819)


American Paintings and Sculpture

On view, 2nd floor, American Art before 1900

Ezra Stiles, a prominent Rhode Island minister and later the seventh president of Yale College, is shown in what he described as "a teaching attitude" surrounded by objects reflecting his interest in history, religion, and science. The luminous disk on the wall is inscribed with religious symbols and with the Hebrew letters for "God" beneath the overarching motto "All Happy in God." On the column to the left are symbols representing the Newtonian and Pythagorean system of the sun, planets, and comets. Contemplating the portrait, Stiles pronounced, "These Emblems are more descriptive of my Mind, than the Effigies of my Face."


Oil on canvas


34 × 28 × 1 1/4 in. (86.4 × 71.1 × 3.2 cm)

Credit Line

Bequest of Dr. Charles Jenkins Foote, B.A. 1883, M.D. 1890

Accession Number



18th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.

  • American Art: Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2023), 66–67, no. 17, ill
  • Donald L. Fennimore and Frank L. Hohmann III, Claggett: Newport's Illustrious Clockmakers (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, 2018), 28–29, fig. 13
  • Patricia Johnston and Caroline Frank, eds., Global Trade Visual Arts in Federal New England (Durham: University of New Hampshire Press, 2014), 2, pl. 1, fig. 1.1
  • Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 2, 4–5, 166, 212–13, no. 114, ill
  • David McCullough, 1776 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005), 33, ill
  • David L. Barquist, Myer Myers: Jewish Silversmith in Colonial New York, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 231–33, no. 133, ill
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

histories (visual works), portraits


Inscribed lower left "EZRA STILES, D.D./AE 44 1771"


Signed lower left "Sam'l King Pinx 1771"

Technical metadata and APIs


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