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Portrait of Colonel Guy Johnson - Benjamin West. 202x138
18th-century American painting was heavily influenced by British art, many artists were not familiar with European painting until they took a trip to Europe. Bejamin West was the first American master to travel to the Old World. He settled in London, where he became one of the most famous English painters. By order of King George III, West painted many large historical paintings and portraits.
One of the most interesting is "Portrait of Colonel Guy Johnson", English Commissioner for Indian Affairs in the American Colonies. Next to him West portrayed Aboriginal figure with a “peace pipe” in hand, unlike an Englishman holding a gun. In the background is an idyllic scene from Native American life amid a large waterfall, possibly Niagara. The identity of the native is unknown; most likely, this is a collective image of the “noble savage”. In the picture, the colonel’s figure is highlighted, while the Indian is not immediately visible, he is hidden in the shade. Thus, the painter contrasts the civilization illuminated by the mind and the culture in the darkness of ignorance.