Artist Benjamin West, American, 1738-1820
  • Belisarius and the Boy
Date 1802
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 26 × 19 inches (66 × 48.3 cm)
Framed: 34 3/4 × 27 1/2 × 3 3/4 inches (88.3 × 69.9 × 9.5 cm)
Credit Line Gift of A. Leonard Nicholson
Accession Number 13.11
Department American Art before 1950
Not On View
Signed Signed and dated, lower right, on side of stone seat: B. West | 1802
Inscriptions Inscribed, on boy's plaque: DATE OBOLUM BELISARIO
[translated: Give a penny to Belisarius]

[translated: The fortifications of the city restored under Justinian by Belisarius] [this refers to Belisarius's reconstruction of the walls of Rome in 537]
1802, Sir Francis Baring, Bt. (London, England);
1848, his son, Sir Thomas Baring, Bt.
June 2-3, 1848, Baring sale (Christies, lot 26, London, England).
A. Leonard Nicholson (London, England);
1913-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
“A Correct Catalogue of the Works of Mr. West.” Public Characters of 1805 (1805): p. 563.

“A Correct List of the Works of Mr. West.” Universal Magazine 3 (1805): p. 529.

Barlow, Joel. The Columbiad. A Poem. Philadelphia, 1807, p. 434.

“A Correct Catalogue of the Works of Benjamin West, Esq.” La Belle Assemblee or Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine 4 (1808): p. 16.

Galt, John. The Life and Works of Benjamin West, ESQ., President of the Royal Academy of London, Subsequent to his Arrival in the Country. London, 1820, p. 224.

[Note on the following three exhibitions.: Venue may have been West's Gallery. Several catalogues dating from 1822-1828, virtually all identical, have been located with the exhibition title Pictures and Drawings by the Late Benjamin West, Esq., President of the Royal Academy.]

British Institution, London, 1824, no. 15.

British Institution, London, 1833, no. 21.

British Institution, London, 1845, no. 99.

“Belisarius and the Boy by Benjamin West.” Bulletin of the DMA 7, 2 (April 1913): pp. 21, 45-47.

Art Quarterly 14, 4 (Winter 1951).

Pilgrim Tercentenary Exhibition. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1921, no. 310.

Evans, Grose. Benjamin West and the Taste of his Times. Carbondale, IL, 1959, pp. 90-91 (pl. 68).

Cummings, Frederick, Robert Rosenblum, and Allen Staley. Romantic Art in Britain: Paintings and Drawings 1760-1860. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1968, pp. 99-100.

Kraemer, Ruth S. Drawings by Benjamin West and his Son Raphael Lamar West. New York, 1975, pp. 40-42.

Dillenberger, John. Benjamin West: The Context of his Life’s Work with Particular Attention to Paintings with Religious Subject Matter. San Antonio, 1977, p. 161.

Von Erffa, Helmut and Allen Staley. Benjamin West. New Haven, CT, 1986, pp. 183-184, no. 42 (ill.).

Black, Mary, et al. American Paintings in the Detroit Institute of Arts, Volume One: Works by Artists Born Before 1816. New York, 1991, pp. 243-245, no. 111.

Cumming, Robert. Art: A Field Guide. New York, 2001, p. 279 (ill.).