Object Image

Portrait of the Artist

The English-born Philadelphian Thomas Sully painted this self-portrait for his host in Baltimore, Maryland, the broker Henry Robinson. The artist is shown interrupted at his work, with the primary tool of his profession pointed at his sharply lit head. This paintbrush device is common in artists’ self-portraits, and Sully is thought to have adapted it from a similar work by Benjamin West, with whom he had studied in London. Although Sully’s brushwork is unusually restrained here, its painterly quickness blends with the engaging spontaneity of the pose to create a sense of immediacy.

Credit: Gift of Mrs. Rosa C. Stanfield, in memory of her father, Henry Robinson, 1894...

1821
Oil on canvas
43.5 x 35.6cm
94.23.3
Image and text © Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019

Where you'll find this

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Permanent collection