The Treaty of Paris

Creator: Benjamin West

Context: This 1783 painting celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the agreement that ended the American Revolution in September of that year.

Audience: West intended the piece as part of an episodic series on the Revolutionary War to be delivered as a gift to the Continental Congress.

Purpose: To commemorate England's recognition of the United States as an independent nation.

Historical Significance: This painting records a crucial moment in the creation of the United States. It portrays the American negotiators as serious and sophisticated men capable of building a new nation. British participants refused to sit for the painting, and it was never finished, showing only the American delegates at the negotiating table.