Courtesy of seattle art museum / photo by Susan Dirk

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This room is the Louvre’s Salon Carré, which was filled with recent French paintings when Morse visited—so he created his own greatest-hits museum that exists only in this painting.

There are 38 paintings, two sculptures, and a case of miniatures.

Samuel F.B. Morse—inventor of the telegraph and Morse code—wanted to be famous for art. He made Gallery of the Louvre during a visit to Paris in the 1830s and brought it back to show Americans his idea of great art.

American novelist James Fenimore Cooper, a friend of Morse’s.

Oh, you know, I’ll just copy Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa here. Other artists he copied in this painting: Titian, Rembrandt, Poussin, Raphael, van

Dyck, Rubens, Caravaggio.

Morse’s copy of Veronese’s The Wedding Feast at Cana—easier to re-create in this squished sideways perspective, or harder?

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Susan Walker Morse is seen here learning from her father’s art instruction, but the American public did not learn about art from Gallery of the Louvre during Morse’s life. His showings of it flopped (to the dismay of critics, who also believed Americans needed educating in Great Art), he sold it in 1834, and he took to creating other forms of transatlantic connection instead. Morse patented the electrical telegraph in 1837.

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