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Raffaele Corsini (active 1830-1865)
Gouache on paper
mat: 26 1/4"h x 34 1/8"w; sheet: 17-1/2"h x 24-1/2"w
Special Acquisitions Fund
Painting of the Bark Lincoln at Smyrna, Turkey, on July 4th, 1853. Dark blue water in foreground shading lighter towards shore. Ship flies the American flag, her commissioning pennant and a blue Masonic pennant with white square and compasses. An American ship to the left is flying salute; there are other American vessels nearby. The shoreline is filled with white buildings with pink roofs and green trees; there is a green and buff landscape with blue mountains beyond. Inscribed in white along the bottom is "Bark Lincoln, W.H. Polleys Master Laying at anchor in Smyrna July 4th 1853." The artist's signature appears at lower right.
On sailing vessels, captains often flew a Masonic flag when entering port. This was an invitation for Masons to come aboard for an informal Masonic meeting, hear the latest news and, possibly, trade. Maine shipbuilders constructed the Lincoln in 1852. Her captain likely flew the square and compasses banner to invite brother Masons aboard to trade or visit. Like other American vessels, the Lincoln sailed to Smyrna to obtain opium, an ingredient in many 1800s patent medicines. Several ship captains who stopped in Turkey commissioned Raffaele Corsini to paint their vessels. He commemorated the Lincoln on Independence Day in 1853.