Benjamin Franklin (1767). David Martin (Scottish, 1736-1798). Oil on canvas. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
The Academy’s portrait is a copy of a quick sketch commissioned by Robert Alexander to commemorate Franklin’s success on his behalf in a property dispute. He sits at a cloth-covered table reading one of the disputed deeds. Books resting nearby refer to Franklin’s devotion to education, while the bust of Sir Isaac Newton underscores his interest in science.