Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Painters and Painting

Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky, Benjamin West (c. 1816)

A celebratory portrait of Benjamin Franklin celebrating his scientific accomplishments.

Benjamin West created this portrait in celebration of his close friend, Benjamin Franklin. (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Benjamin West painted many portraits of influential figures from Philadelphia, including his close friend Benjamin Franklin, whom he commemorated in traditional portraits as well as this image recalling Franklin’s interest in science. In this memorial he included biblical and mythological figures expressed in the angelic children assisting Franklin in harnessing the power of lightning.

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