Declaration of Independence, by John Trumbull, commissioned in 1817.
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The first painting that Trumbull completed for the Rotunda shows the signing of the Declaration of Independence in what is now called Independence Hall, Philadelphia. The painting features the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence – John Adams, Robert Sherman, Thomas Jefferson (presenting the document), and Benjamin Franklin – standing before John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress. The painting includes portraits of 42 of the 56 signers and 5 other patriots.

Credit: Image Donated by Corbis -Bettmann

To "preserve the resemblance of the men who were the authors of this memorable act," painter John Trumbull tracked down and painted from life 36 of the 47 men portrayed in his "Declaration of Independence." The chamber, however, he based on a sketch that Thomas Jefferson gave to him in Paris in 1786. The 12-by-18 foot painting has hung in the United States Capitol Rotunda since 1826.

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