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East Room painting by Peter Rothermel

East Room painting by Peter Rothermel

Artist
Peter Rothermel
Credit
White House Historical Assocition (White House Collection)

East Room painting by Peter Rothermel

Peter Rothermels East Room painting uses some enlargement of the interiors true scale to allow portraits of the numerous guests. The picture is believed to be symbolic, not representational. Yet General Ulysses S. Grants presence at center suggests his triumphant appearance at the White House following the victory at Vicksburg in 1863. But the picture also evidences a reception at the time of Lincolns second inaugural in 1865. A detail that perhaps favors the Grant interpretation is the presence of the orator Edward Everett, seated on the left, who had died prior to the second inauguration; still, it would be odd at the earlier representation to have included Andrew Johnson so prominently, before he was vice president, in Lincolns second term. Nearly all the celebrities of Lincolns era in the White House are represented, including the old military hero General Winfield Scott, seated because he was suffering from gout and his feet failed him.

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