Home>

Charles Willson Peale

>

Staircase Group (Portrait of Raphaelle Peale and Titian Ramsay Peale I), 1795

About the Artwork

By the time that Charles Willson Peale painted the Staircase Group, he had abandoned commercial portraiture to devote himself to natural science and to his museum and zoo at Philosophical Hall. To help foster the arts in Philadelphia, however, he was instrumental in founding the Columbianum, an artists' association modeled on the Royal Academy in London. For its first and only exhibition, Peale executed this painting to demonstrate that he remained one of the city's preeminent artists. On an unusually large canvas, he made one of his rare full-length portraits, showing two of his sons on an enclosed spiral staircase. Its high degree of detail and finish shows that the painting was clearly intended to be a trompe l'oeil "deception," an effect that Peale never attempted elsewhere. To enhance the illusion, he installed the painting within a doorframe in his studio, with a real step in front. Rembrandt Peale, another son, recalled that his father's friend George Washington, misled by Peale's artifice, tipped his hat and greeted the two young men as he walked by. Darrel Sewell, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 267

Related Images

About Our Products

Quality


This Art on Demand Store is your exclusive source for reproductions authorized and available for purchase directly from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. All items that are offered are produced using gallery quality materials and the color is managed in a manner that produces a reproduction as true to the original as technology will allow.

Selection


Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. In addition, new works are continually added to the offering so make sure to come back and see the new releases.

Customization


You have found the work that speaks to you. Now what? Using our innovative custom framing tool you can preview exactly what your finished and framed art will look like. We offer many different moulding styles so there is sure to be a match for any type of decor.

Member Discounts

As always, members will receive their discount for all transactions processed through our Art on Demand Store. Simply enter your member id during the checkout process and your discount will be applied.