Historic Structures

Rembrant Peale Peale Museum, Baltimore Maryland

Rembrant Peale was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on February 22, 1778. Charles Willson Peale, his father had evidently expected that his offspring should be artists for he named them all after the old masters, i.e. Rembrant, Reubens, Van Dyck, Raphael and Titian. With all this circumstance as events turned out only two of the five became artists.

Rembrant showed early signs of extradordinary talent. He "began to draw at the age of eight years and by the time he was thirteen he had painted a portrait of himself."

Upon the retirement of Charles Willson Peale in 1796, Rembrant was given his father's seal of approval and the title of his success. However, this did not lead to instant success. Rembrant thereupon, ventured to Charleston, South Carolina, where he remained several years until 1801 at which time he journeyed to England to study with Benjamin West.

It was here in London that Rembrant Peale was confronted for the first time with the continental art form or "with good art". 2 Peale's heart wjas not strong and the climate in England was critically against his health, at this time Rembrant Peale decided to return to the United States and give up painting for agriculture. However, immediate success upon his return changed these plans.

After living in Boston some years, Peale moved to Baltimore in 1812. It was here in Baltimore that Peale opened the first building in

America to be used solely as a museum and art gallery. Here Peale lived for nine years and painted a number of his most famous works including "The Ascent of Elijah," and"The Court of Death," which was painted on canvas measuring 24 by 13 feet, and it contained twenty-three lifesize figures. This work became one of Peale ! s most famous; it was placed on exhibition in every major city of the United States. Fron 1822 to 1829 Peale again returned north where he painted portraits in Philadelphia New York and Boston.

Peale once more returned to Europe where he exhibited his portrait of George Washington drawn to Peale's own exacting specifications of likeness. The portrait received raves of critics. Upon Peale's return, the portrait was purchased by the United States Government and now hangs in the Vice President's room in the Senate wing of the Capitol. Peale's works include; "The Court of Death", his most famous, "Song of the Shirt," "Errina," "Wine and Cake," and "Italian Peasant." Peale died on October 3, 1860.