Chapter 11 Concepts of Leadership in Early Portraits of American Revolutionaries

In: Revolts and Political Violence in Early Modern Imagery
Author: Monika Barget

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on early portraits of American revolutionary leaders that circulated in Europe. The portraits are discussed in the wider context of eighteenth-century visualizations of power and compared with aristocratic portraiture of the time. While depictions of monarchs and princes often reflected Enlightenment ideals, portraits of revolutionaries also drew on existing elite iconography. The chapter argues that, in the course of a transcontinental media exchange, visual concepts of leadership approximated each other and were shared beyond political frontlines. The rise of national identities and active citizenship, for instance, shaped the political iconography of monarchical and republican government systems alike.

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