Carpenter’s “First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation” (1864)

Courtesy of U.S. Senate










The U.S. Senate Historical Office has posted a well-written and detailed summary of Francis B. Carpenter’s famous painting of the moment on Tuesday, July 22, 1862 when Abraham Lincoln read the first draft of his emancipation proclamation to his cabinet.   Carpenter was allowed extraordinary access to the president and his cabinet.  He interviewed all of them at length and was even offered the opportunity in early 1864 to turn the future State Dining Room in the White House into a temporary art studio as he worked on the massive oil on canvass (9 x 15 feet).   You can also view a popular black and white print of the image from an online exhibition created by the Smithsonian.

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