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How to Use the Images


Inquiry Question

Historical Context



Painting 3


Table of

Visual Evidence

Painting 1: Joseph Brant, 1786.
Painted by Gilbert Stuart.
[Painting 1] with link to higher quality painting.
(Courtesy New York State Historical Association)

Painting 2: Sir John Johnson, 1770s. Artist Unknown. [Painting 1] with link to higher quality painting.
(Courtesy Johnson Hall State Historic Site)

Painting 1 is a portrait of Joseph Brant, Mohawk "brother-in-law" of Sir William Johnson. Painting 2 is a portrait of John Johnson, son of Sir William Johnson, painted in the 1770s. Both of these men held powerful positions in the Mohawk Valley at the beginning of the American Revolution. Both were Tories who raised troops for the British cause in New York, and both died in exile in Canada after 1800.

Questions for Painting 1 and 2

1. To have one's portrait painted in the 18th century was a sign of power and status in society. What evidence do you find in Joseph Brant's painting of power and status? What evidence do you find in John Johnson's painting of power and status?

2. Molly Brant was the common-law Mohawk wife of Sir William Johnson. She held a higher position in Iroquois society than her brother Joseph and yet there are no known portraits of her. What might this lack of visual evidence suggest about European­American views of the status of women in 18th­century society?

3. What details in the portraits reveal the very different cultural origins of the two men depicted?

* The images on this screen have a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of Painting 1 and Painting 2 but be aware that each file will take as much as 30 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.



Comments or Questions

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