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Jonas Platt

Samuel Finley Breese Morse

American Art

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.

MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1828
DIMENSIONS 35 15/16 x 29 7/16 in. (91.3 x 74.8 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Dick S. Ramsay Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 85.23_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 85.23_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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