Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painters' Eyes Of Arms and Artists discussion


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Chapter 7

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Alexander Hamilton I'm finally caught up. Huzzah! Here are some discussion questions that are, of course, never required, but just here to help spur discussion if needed.

1. I always find it interesting how people's lives cross in unusual ways. For instance, in this chapter, Trumbull's acquaintanceship/friendship with Gilbert Stuart, Benjamin West, the Adams family, &c. As an aside, in another book I read, Meriweather Lewis was a private at the Whiskey Rebellion. Fascinating, right? Moving on... did you find any particular acquaintanceship of fate particularly interesting and why?

2. Benjamin West believed that paintings should portray "majesty, superiority, character, intelligence, and, above all, virtue" (173). Do you agree with this?

3. For all you Turn fans, Andre's death had clear and somewhat dire implications for Americans living in London. Knowing these outcomes now, do you think it was right of Washington to hang Andre as a spy?

4. Did you have a favorite passage? What was it and why?


Alexander Hamilton I'm just going to go ahead and answer #4 right away. I love the way Paul Staiti writes and some of my favorite lines were:

-"Trumbull's primary crime in 1780 had been over-ambition, and his seven-month jail term at Tothill Fields Bridewell prison was not a surprise to anyone, except to Trumbull" (171) (emphasis mine)

-"But Trumbull found John Adams insufferable" (174).

-"...but Trumbull was too miffed to overlook the supposed 'affront,' having mistaken his petulant ego for true honor" (165).

Clearly all of these have a theme for me. Just as it's easy to see the founding fathers as stone-faced and serious, I think it's also easy to see the painters that way too. This chapter read to me like an episode from Turn & I loved it.


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