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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 16, 2015 11:00pm-11:06pm EDT

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we're open 362 days a year. we'd love to see you out here, so please come and visit us in stanton, virginia. >> this is the second of a two-part series on the frontier culture museum. part one explored daily life in europe for migrants before they came to colonial you can watch this and other cer programs anytime by visiting oun website at american history tv airs all weekend every weekend on c-span 3 and in primetime on weeknights when congress is in recess. we cover all periods of american history and a wide diversity of topi topics. you can watch alurl of our programs, find our tv schedule, and connect with us on twitter t and facebook. this is american history tv only on c-span 3.
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each week american history tv's american artifacts visits dedicated on march 17th, 1941, the national gallery of art was a gift to the american people from financier andrew melon, who served as treasury secretary from 1921 to 1932. up next, we visit the museum tos learn about early american portrait painting and the work of john singleton copley. >> hello. i'm dianne stephens from the education department, the national gallery of art. we're standing in a room full of portraits by john singleton par copley, america's most importa t colonial portrait when you see copley's portraits,
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you want to discourse with them. you want to ask them questions and receive answers. i don't think you can say it much better than that. let me give you a little background. eand in the early part of the 18th century in america, early painters without much background and much training, we call them the limners, made ambitious but tentative efforts to capture likenesses on canvas because c portraiture was the only way ofe doing that those days and it wa really the most important type of painting in the colonies. it was only with john singletonn copley and benjamin west that there was a great flourishing of activity in portrait painting that became elevated to a levelf of international acclaim, so copley and west are two first high-level portrait painters. unfortunately in some ways but fortunate in others, west left very early in his career and went to england to study where a he had an incredibly successful career, became the portrait
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painter to the king, and nourished many, many younger coy painters who came to, study wi him. copley, on the other hand, stayed in boston for the first o 20 years of his career, so we nd have these wonderful portraits of early colonials by copley. let's start with this one of epes sergeant. a 70-year-old new englander. he was a wealthy merchant who nt lived in gloucester, massachusetts. by the time he died, he owned most of gloucester. he and his sons owned most of gloucester.di he was in his 70s at the time this was painted, and it's an early 1760s portrait by copley.s you get the sense of a man who's done well, who's happy with hisn position in life, who looks comfortable.o' copley's given us more than jusa a representation of his features, but we have a sense of
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his status and his feeling about himself. he's painted -- copley has a pd great attention to detail.great he doesn't leave anything out. he's got the mole under epes' left eye is there. his somewhat wrinkled skin is portrayed just as it the fact he's bursting his jacket, he's filling out his jacket anyway, is evident.jacket the hand he has in front of him, i think, gilbert stuart, the american painter, said later nta about that hand speaking of the realism of copley's painting, i. you prick that hand, blood will spurt out. it's so realistically painted with no effort to make it pretty . here you see that epes is leaning on an antique column, es and there probably weren't many of those in the colonies in the 1760s.
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it's evidence that copley gets 0 much of his -- much of his training comes from the fact tri that his father was an engravere or his stepfather was an engraver and he had access to engravings from europe and this compositional idea probably came from that. i love to look at this just a little bit. t it must be his waistcoat showing through. must he's dressed for conservativelys in a very simple cloth, but youy have that gold brocade coming through. it's a wonderful painting. he was a harvard graduate. if you look across the room, if this man painted 12 years later by copley was his harvard rd roommate. his little did they they -- not hish roommate, his classmate. little did they think they would be hanging together in this gallery. this is eleazer tyng. i think he owned land in new hampshire and was also a


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