| Examining the Evidence Activities
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Examining the Evidence Activities

Examining Related Evidence: Copley Family Portrait
This internet activity is based on the Examining the Evidence feature found on page 169 of The American Pageant, Thirteenth Edition. Or you can view the feature here.

Copley, like most early American painters made his living by painting portraits. Some of his most interesting and revealing works were paintings of the leaders of Revolutionary-era Boston. Two of these portraits appear earlier in your textbook: Paul Revere on page ____ and Samuel Adams on page ____. The one of Paul Revere is particularly noteworthy and discussed in detail by the historian David Hackett Fisher in his Paul Revere's Ride.

To investigate further, go to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston's website to examine Copley's paintings of Paul Revere and Mercy Otis Warren.

Examine the paintings carefully and answer the following questions:

1. Consider the Revere painting first. When was this work painted? What was going on in Boston at that time? What role was Revere playing in those events? What clues about Revere's profession are there in the painting? How might Revere's trade have helped him in his political activities? How might the political context have been reflected in the painting?

2. Compare the description of this painting in your textbook with the description on the MFA website. What are the key differences in these descriptions?

3. Examine the painting of Mercy Otis Warren. Who was Mrs. Warren? Compare her portrait to the Copley Family portrait in your textbook. Compare and contrast the portrayals of Mrs. Copley and Mrs. Warren. Does Mrs. Warren fit the republican motherhood ideal?

4. What else would you like to know about Mercy Otis Warren?

5. There are several other paintings by Copley at this website. Which is your favorite, and why?



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