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Staircase Group (Portrait of Raphaelle Peale and Titian Ramsay Peale I)
Staircase Group (Portrait of Raphaelle Peale and Titian Ramsay Peale I), 1795
Charles Willson Peale, American
Oil on canvas
89 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches (227.3 x 100 cm)
The George W. Elkins Collection, 1945
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Let’s Look

  • Where are these young men standing? How can you tell?
  • What do you think they are doing? Where could they be going? What might happen next?
  • Where are the brightest parts of the painting? Where are the shadows?

Let’s Look Again

  • What did you notice first? Then where did you look? What do you think drew your eye there?
  • Imagine you could walk into the painting and follow the brothers upstairs. What do you think you might discover beyond the frame?
  • Why do you think Peale painted his son Raphaelle walking up the steps, instead of down? What could the stairs symbolize?

Connect and Compare

  • Research the painter’s tools that Raphaelle carries: brushes, a palette, and a maulstick. How are they used? What other tools did artists use in the eighteenth century? What tools do artists use today?
  • Explore American clothing from the late 1700s. What was the typical dress for men, women, and children? How did styles change over time? Compare Raphaelle and Titian’s clothing with styles of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  • Investigate the history of Peale’s Museum. How did it start, and what was displayed? Who visited it? What were some of the reasons Peale wanted to open a museum?




Related Art Project

Create life-size portraits using kraft paper, either by putting the paper on the floor and tracing body outlines or by drawing from life. Remember to strike an interesting pose, like Raphaelle and Titian! What will your pose say about you? Add details such as clothing, hairstyle, and objects to convey information about you.

For more information, please contact The Division of Education by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .

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