Gustavus Hesselius, Swedish born painter (1682-1755)

By Candace Roberts

The leading artist in the mid-Atlantic colonies during the first half of the eighteenth century, in 1712 Gustavus Hesselius arrived in Philadelphia as a trained artist. For several years after 1719 or 1720, he lived in Maryland but then returned permanently to Philadelphia. In addition to portraits, his chief subjects, he is known to have painted religious scenes, which number among the earliest colonial examples. Similarly, his two surviving mythological subjects may have been the earliest classical works executed in North America.


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