Artist in His Museum

by Charles Willson Peale

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Artist in His Museum by Charles Willson Peale at PAFA

Credit: Courtesy of PAFA

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Commissioned by the Peale Museum and painted at age 81, this self-portrait is a celebration of Charles Willson Peale’s career as an artist, naturalist, educator and showman. He painted it to promote his dream to “bring into public view the beauties of nature and art, the rise and progress of the Museum.” Peale is best known for his portraits of soldiers of the American Revolution, including George Washington, and for his role in founding one of the nation’s first museums. Born in Maryland, Peale came to Philadelphia in support of the emerging government and settled in an estate on the campus of La Salle University, which can still be visited today.