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George Cooke
Date: 1793 - 1849
Remarks: George Cooke was a self-trained artist who was born in Maryland in 1793. Early in his career, he traveled up and down the east coast executing portrait commissions. Though he was a natural at creating likenesses, he traveled to Europe in 1826 in order to pursue his art education through the study of classical sculpture, old masters, and works of his European contemporaries. During his time in Europe, he copied several history paintings. The most similar to the Raft in execution is probably The Conspiracy of Cataline after Niccolo Cassana. There are some similarities in how the artist has rendered drapery and the contours of the modeling of figures between the Raft and the Conspiracy. When Cooke returned to America, he widely exhibited the full-size copy of the Raft. It traveled to at least three venues before its acquisition by the NYHS: New York, Boston, and Washington, DC. (Keyes)