Archibald MacNeal Willard, inspired by a holiday parade in Wellington, Ohio, painted The Spirit of ’76 around 1875. It was exhibited in the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia where it was not well received. Reproductions sold well, though, and soon the painting was popular enough to tour the country. The central figure is based on a sketch of the artist’s father. Archibald Willard was proud of his father’s work as a minister and of his grandfather’s service in the Revolutionary War. Happy Independence Day!
(Click image for larger view)
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