George Peter Alexander Healy
Born 1813, Boston, Massachusetts
Died 1894, Chicago, Illinois
Frederic E. Church
Born 1826, Hartford, Connecticut
Died 1900, New York, New York
Born 1826, Rondout, New York
Died 1891, Kingston, New York
The Arch of Titus, 1871
Oil on canvas
Bequest of Dr. J. Ackerman Coles, 1926
Why did three artists make a single painting?
They wanted to create a memento of their experience in Italy together. Church, seated, painted the Coliseum and the sky; McEntee, in the center, did the arch; and Healy, who conceived and owned the picture, painted the figures.
Who are the other two people in the painting?
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet and author of Hiawatha, and his daughter, Edith. Longfellow's trip to Italy first prompted Healy to want to make this painting. Longfellow even selected the setting, based on a sketch seen in Healy's studio.
Why is this painting a fiction?
These people never posed at the Arch of Titus. The artists relied on photographs and sketches. Longfellow and his daughter are painted from a photograph of them in Healy's studio; the arch is based on a commercial photograph of this popular tourist destination; and the three artists are based on an oil sketch Healy made in his studio.