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Declaration of Independence Stone Facsimile on View at the National Gallery of Art
William J. Stone (1798–1865), Declaration of Independence, 1823, engraving on parchment. Lent by David M. Rubenstein.
WASHINGTON, DC.- Declaration of Independence: The Stone Copy presents one of only 31 existing copies of the "Stone" facsimile of the historic document in the American galleries of the West Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, May 28 through September 5, 2011. On loan from David M. Rubenstein, it is installed near American painter Gilbert Stuart's portraits of Declaration of Independence signers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

On June 11, 1776, the Second Continental Congress appointed a committee of five to draft a statement asserting the American colonies' independence from Great Britain. John Adams and the other committee members agreed that Thomas Jefferson should undertake the task. On July 4, after debate and revision, Congress approved the document and soon ordered that the declaration be written large and legibly on parchment for official purposes, and signed by all members of Congress. The Declaration of Independence traveled with the young government to Philadelphia, New York, and other temporary capitals. After 1800, it was brought to the newly created seat of government in the District of Columbia. James Madison was president when Secretary of State James Monroe spirited the document across the river to Virginia for safekeeping during the British invasion of the capital in August 1814.

By 1820, the parchment scroll was suffering the effects of time and exposure. To preserve its appearance, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams commissioned a Washington engraver, William J. Stone, to create a facsimile version on parchment, complete with signatures, to become the official representation of the treasured document. More than three years of work went into the creation of the copperplate, noted by a local newspaper at the time as being "executed with the greatest exactness and fidelity." It is this engraving, two hundred copies of which were distributed to surviving signers, government officials, and others, which provided the image of the Declaration of Independence that has been accepted into the popular consciousness.






Today's News

June 5, 2011

Golden Lion Award in Venice for Best National Participation for the German Pavilion

Julian Schnabel: Permanently Becoming and the Architecture of Seeing at the Museo Correr

First Major Exhibition of the Work of Canadian Artist Evan Penny Opens at Kunsthalle Tübingen

LACMA Presents Groundbreaking International Exhibition of Islamic Art, Gifts of the Sultan

Film Celebrates the Remarkable Nine Decade Career of Legendary Cinematographer Jack Cardiff

Mike and Doug Starn's Big Bambú on View in the Courtyard of Casa Artom on the Grand Canal

ArtSway's New Forest Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia

Canadian Artist Kathleen Munn Receives Homecoming Exhibition at Art Gallery of Ontario

Declaration of Independence Stone Facsimile on View at the National Gallery of Art

Exceptional Complete Prints Portfolio, Unité, by Le Corbusier Offered for Sale on artnet

Edward Cella Art + Architecture Shows a Solo Exhibition by Contemporary Artist Brad Miller

Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey at Notre Dame's Snite Museum of Art

New Exhibition Features Miniature Propliners from the Collection of Anthony J. Lawler

Exhibition of Works with Lens-Based Mediaphotography, Video and Film by Berni Searle

Daniel Buren to Create Permanent Artwork at Tottenham Court Road Tube Station

Ornamentum Gallery: Contemporary Jewelry Exhibition at Design Miami/ Basel 2011

After Theft, Auschwitz Sign Won't Go Back to Gate

Ancient World Dictionary Finished - After 90 Years

Joslyn Treasures: Well Traveled and Rarely Seen at the Joslyn Art Museum

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