Happy 4th of July!! I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since I last posted; my very first post was an American flag themed pizza 4 years ago, so it feels fitting that I’m returning to share a patriotic dessert! I am a firm believer that you need a pie to celebrate July 4th, and this long holiday weekend gave me plenty of time to consider cherry to blueberry to rhubarb ratios and head over to the Greenmarket for the prettiest ones I could find!
What’s more American than pie? …maybe the Declaration of Independence, the reason for the season! American artist John Trumbull painted this enormous (12 x 18 feet!) version of the Declaration of Independence in 1817, which hangs in the Unites States Capitol Rotunda, home to an incredible collection of works of art depicting events in early American history.
At first glance, many people assume that this colossal painting shows the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but no, no, no – it actually shows the presentation of the document to Congress by the five-man drafting committee. Not quite as exciting, but if importance is measured in cubic inches, this is surely a key moment in Americans’ fight for independence. Born into the Connecticut Colony, Trumbull is known for his highly-detailed and finished style, evidenced here. Trumbull visited Independence Hall on multiple occasions to paint this space, and painted most of the men shown from life or other renderings of them – in fact, he couldn’t locate a likeness for 14 of the eventual Declaration signors, so he just left them out.
Pretty straightforward, and I know what you’re thinking – get to the pie!!! – but make sure you don’t miss Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in the front. Adams, dressed in brown and fabulously posed with his hand on his hip may or may not be getting his polished slipper stepped on by Jefferson’s equally fancy foot – possibly showing their relationship as political enemies, or could just be that Trumbull got the spacing wrong – we’ll never know. Mysterious, right?
Now let’s focus on this this p-i-e! It’s bright and patriotically hued – and you can spice up that lattice any which way you want! I guess it could be argued that it’s your patriotic duty to make today, tomorrow or next weekend! Want to substitute the fruit? OK – swap in strawberries, blackberries or raspberries. Now go 4th and bake!!
John Trumbull, Declaration of Independence, oil on canvas, 1817