(North Kingstown, Rhode Island, 1755 - 1828, Boston, Massachusetts)
Portrait of James Madison
early 19th century
48 1/2 in. x 39 3/4 in. (123.19 cm x 100.97 cm)
North America, United States
Medium and Support
oil on canvas
Bequest of the Honorable James Bowdoin III
In this portrait of Secretary of State James Madison, painted as a companion to Thomas Jefferson, seen nearby, the leader of a new democratic nation is solemnly depicted without the trappings of royalty or aristocracy. Like his fellow Virginian Jefferson, Madison is considered a Founding Father of the United States, and helped to draft the Constitution. A brilliant political theorist, he helped ensure the Constitution’s ratification by the States by outlining the amendments found in the Bill of Rights. His ideas of liberty, however, did not extend to the hundreds of enslaved men, women, and children who labored on his plantation Montpelier in Orange County, Virginia.
October 2010: This portrait of James Madison, like its counterpart of Thomas Jefferson, includes a French-style armchair.
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