Object Image

Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

When Franklin arrived in France in December 1776 to negotiate for aid for the American revolutionary war, he was already a celebrity. His simple dress and refusal to wear a wig made an impression in intellectual circles and elsewhere. Franklin lived at Passy in a house provided by Jacques Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont who commissioned a terra-cotta medallion with his profile as well as our portrait, which was exhibited in 1779. The original frame includes the attributes of Liberty, Peace, and Victory, and is accompanied by the simple Latin inscription VIR (man).

Credit: The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931...

Oil on canvas
72.4 x 58.4cm
Image and text © Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019

Where you'll find this

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Permanent collection