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Vol. 9 No. i (2021): Spring 2021

Art and Propaganda: The Problem with Idealized Colonialism

November 21, 2023


This paper examines the power of art commissions as a means for political and cultural gain through art narration at the detriment of some sectors of society. These ideas are explored through the art commission of Benjamin West by Thomas Penn, son of William Penn, which sought to solidify the Penn family legacy in the United States and was widely circulated as a form of political propaganda. Through the use of primary and secondary sources, this paper demonstrates the influential command of commissioned artwork and the dangers of keeping high art in the hands of the select few without equal opposing discourse.