The Court of Death, From the Original Painting, by Rembrandt Peale. Chromolithograph.
New York: G. O. Colton, 1859. First printing. A striking chromolithographic print after Peale's famous monumental oil painting, a memento mori based on a period poem.
Rembrandt Peale (1778 - 1860), American painter and son of Charles Wilson Peale, is noted for his portraits from life of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and for many works showing the influence of European painting. Peale studied for extended periods in Europe and was deeply influenced by French neoclassicism and the work of Jacques Louis David.
Done in the grand manner of sweeping historical paintings, the chromolithograph shows a central seated figure representing Death, while at the far right are War and his side kicks trampling the bodies of their victims, a widow and child. To the left is the mass of sinful humanity succumbing to various weaknesses, while at the feet of Death is a victim cut down in his prime. Old Age supported by Faith approaches Death gratefully, having led an exemplary life.
The Peales had wide ranging interests including in natural history; in 1801 Rembrandt assisted his father in unearthing the bones of prehistoric mammals in Newburgh, NY, including a mastodon, which became the main attraction at the Peale natural history museum in Philadelphia, the first natural history museum founded in the US.
Lithographed by Sarony, Major & Knapp. Chromolithographic print: 29 3/4 x 20 1/4". Beautifully de acidified and two closed tears restored and backed by Green Dragon making the image flexible and clean. The image itself is strong and striking. Good condition. Item #24410