Samuel F.B. Morse was at the peak of his career when he portrayed Jonas Platt, who is presented as a soberly dressed man of affairs, with book and documents nearby, facing us in a confident yet thoughtful manner. The drapery and glimpse of sky are scaled-down elements drawn from grandmanner portraiture and signal Platt's prominence.
The sitter and artist were both active in politics and concerned with the application of scientific and technological advances to national purpose. Platt had been an early promoter of the Erie Canal, and Morse was not only the finest portrait painter in New York, but an inventor as well. A decade after completing this work, Morse retired from his artistic career to devote himself to the development of the telegraph.
- Artist: Samuel Finley Breese Morse, American, 1791-1872
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dates: 1828
- Dimensions: 35 15/16 x 29 7/16 in. (91.3 x 74.8 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Unsigned
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, American Landscape/Colony to Nation, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 85.23
- Credit Line: Dick S. Ramsay Fund
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Samuel Finley Breese Morse (American, 1791-1872). Jonas Platt, 1828. Oil on canvas, 35 15/16 x 29 7/16 in. (91.3 x 74.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 85.23
- Record Completeness: Best (91%)