Peter F. Rothermel bigraphy, stories - American painter

Peter F. Rothermel : biography

July 8, 1817 - August 15, 1895

Peter Frederick Rothermel (July 8, 1817 – August 15, 1895) was an American painter.

External Resources

Category:1817 births Category:1895 deaths Category:19th-century American painters Category:History artists Category:Artists from Pennsylvania Category:Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts faculty


Rothermel was born in Nescopeck, Pennsylvania in 1817, although some date his birth earlier, in 1813 or 1814. He had a common-school education, and studied land surveying. At age 20, he moved to Philadelphia and became a sign painter. Then at age 22, he took up the study of art. He was instructed in drawing by John Rubens Smith, and subsequently became a pupil of Bass Otis in Philadelphia.

His 1844 work De Soto discovering the Mississippi was purchased by the Art Union and marked his first success as an artist. He served as vice president of the Artists' Fund Society in 1844 and as director of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1847 to 1855.

During 1856-1859 he was in Europe, residing for about two years in Rome, and visiting also the principal cities in England, France, Germany, Belgium, and Italy. On his return to the United States, he settled in Philadelphia again, and was elected a member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

He specialized in portraits and dramatic historical paintings. His most famous paintings include Patrick Henry before the Virginia House of Burgesses (1851) and a massive oil painting of the Battle of Gettysburg (finished in 1871) that hangs in the State Museum of Pennsylvania.See Picture of the Battle of Gettysburg, painted by P. F. Rothermel. Philadelphia: Dunk, Longacre & Co., 1877 This latter work was commissioned by Gettysburg lawyer David McConaughy. Another of his more popular historical works is Columbus Before the Queen, painted in 1844.

In 1877, he moved from Philadelphia to “Grassmere,” his country home near Linfield, Pennsylvania, where he resided until his death. His estate still exists today on Limerick Center Road it is now a residential site. Rothermel's son, Peter F. Rothermel, Jr., was District Attorney of Philadelphia.


Other works

Peter F. Rothermel's [[Patrick Henry before the Virginia House of Burgesses]] Besides those mentioned, other works of Rothermel include:

  • Christabel
  • Katherine and Petruchio
  • De Soto discovering the Mississippi (1844)
  • Embarkation of Columbus
  • Christian Martyrs in the Colisseum
  • a series of paintings illustrative of William H. Prescott's History of the Conquest of Mexico (about 1850)
  • The Virtuoso (1855)
  • Vandyke and Rubens (1856)
  • King Lear (1856)
  • St. Agnes (1858)
  • Paul at Ephesus
  • Paul before Agrippa
  • St. Paul preaching on Mars Hill to the Athenians
  • Trial of Sir Henry Vane
  • The Landsknecht (1876)
  • Bacchantes (1884)
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