More than just decoration, fine art prints such as those in the Yellow Room were intended to delight, instruct, and provoke conversation.

These works of art set a cosmopolitan tone and invited close inspection and contemplation by guests.

These prints were part of a collection of over 100 that Washington had amassed in Philadelphia. At the time, building a collection of prints, skilled reproductions of original art, was a serious pursuit. Contemporary theorists linked the ability to choose and enjoy artwork to the development of one’s moral virtue. Displaying art in good taste testified both to one’s own character and a noble desire to elevate the visiting viewer.

The four fine art prints in the Yellow Room represent those installed by the Washingtons in 1797. Washington’s detailed list of “Prints purchased,” together with the probate inventories, enabled curators to identify the correct prints in the room. High-quality reproductions of each of the four landscapes, reproduced from originals, are displayed in the room.

The Flight

The Flight, after an original painting by French artist Claude Lorrain, depicts the Holy Family pausing to rest on their flight to Egypt, to escape the murderous rage of Herod the Great of Judea.

The Flight

The Flight [to Egypt], 1783, Claude Lorrain.

Pastoral Life

The Young Herdman and the pair, Morning and Evening, present meditations on the pastoral life by Dutch artists Aelbert Cuyp and Adam Pynacker, with a focus on the gentle beauty of cattle.

Morning, 1784, Aelbert Cuyp and Adam Pynacker.Evening, 1784, Aelbert Cuyp and Adam Pynacker.

 

 

 

 

What's in a Name?

These furnishings made an impressive statement about the Washingtons, their wealth and early ambitions, and their participation in a British Atlantic world of consumer goods, design, and taste.

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