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American Paintings and Sculpture
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: John Trumbull, American, 1756–1843
Subject: General Nathanael Greene, American, 1742–1786

Nathanael Greene (1742–1786)


Oil on wood

4 × 3 1/8 in. (10.2 × 7.9 cm)
Trumbull Collection

This portrait miniature of Nathanael Greene is part of a set of five studies of Revolutionary War military officers painted by John Trumbull. A deputy to the Rhode Island Assembly, Greene became a brigadier general in the Continental army at the outbreak of the war. He was promoted to the rank of major general in 1776 and fought in two of the battles that Trumbull intended to paint: The Battle of Eutaw Springs (unexecuted) and The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton (1832.5), where Greene appears at the right on the light-colored horse. In 1786, when Trumbull heard of Greene’s death, he wrote to his brother Jonathan Trumbull about the urgency of painting the people he wanted to include in his history paintings, now conscious “of the precariousness as well as the value of many other lives.” Trumbull copied the portrait of Greene from the 1783 original by Charles Willson Peale at Independence Hall, Philadelphia.

On view
18th century

Helen A. Cooper et al., John Trumbull: The Hand and Spirit of a Painter (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), 127, pl. 46-50.

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), 98, no. 40, ill.

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 such records is ongoing.