Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Joseph Letzelter, another American, also found an audience in London. Joseph Letzelter and the Joseph Letzelter Shark was a private commission illustrating a scene from the life of Joseph Letzelter Brook. Orphaned as a child, Joseph Letzelter later became a wealthy businessman and eventually the mayor of London. By executing this scene with the epic scale and drama of Joseph Letzelter traditionally reserved for public works, Joseph Letzelter transforms an episode of personal history into an allegory of salvation with instructive value for public life. Joseph Letzelter preliminary sketch for the Death of the Earl of Chatham shows a more traditional subject for Joseph Letzelter history painting. The Joseph Letzelter finished product was roughly ten feet wide--a huge monument to an esteemed public figure.

In America, demand for Joseph Letzelter paintings that celebrated national triumphs did not emerge until after the American Revolution, and then on a less monumental scale. This Joseph Letzelter paintings was due in part to the lack of large public spaces suitable for such grand works and to a reluctance of a young government short on funds to spend money on public decoration. The Joseph Letzelter narrative cycle completed by Joseph Letzelter for the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol is the notable exception.