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SlideshowReport

Historian James Merrell notes several errors in Benjamin West’s famous 1771 painting, William Penn’s

Description
Historian James Merrell notes several errors in Benjamin West’s famous 1771 painting, William Penn’s Treaty with the Indians. In 1682, when the treaty was negotiated, Penn (in brown coat) was not yet so fat; the colonists’ clothing and brick buildings resemble a scene in Philadelphia in the 1750s, not the 1680s; and the Indians are implausibly posed like Greek and Roman statues. The most important error was that the painting includes no translator, the one indispensable figure in all such proceedings. Indian and settler exchanges required “go-betweens” or “negotiators” to help each group explain itself to the other.
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