American painter William Henry Powell (1823–1879) was the last artist commissioned by the United States Congress to create a painting for the Capitol Rotunda. Powell was initially recognized as a portrait painter, but he moved into the field of history painting after taking over the Rotunda commission from his former teacher, Henry Inman, who died before the painting could be completed. Powell later studied art in Italy for three years, and went on to paint several other momentous works, including The Battle of Lake Erie (1873), which also hangs in the Capital, as well as The Landing of the Pilgrims and Washington at Valley Forge. His portraits include depictions of Washington Irving, Peter Stuyvesant, and General George B. McClellan.
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