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Pierre Van Cortlandt

The elaborate stage set in this full-length portrait suggests how impressive it was intended to be. The artist based the backdrop, and details such as the pose and the dog, on British royal portrait prints that decorated colonial homes as museum posters do today. This portrait suggested the young sitter's great promise: born into one of the city's wealthiest Dutch families, he inherited vast properties north of Manhattan and became an ardent patriot during the Revolutionary War.

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