Horum est Regnum Coelorum [Such is the Kingdom of Heaven]
9 5/8 x 8 3/8 in. (24.4 x 21.3 cm)
Johann Heinrich Lips,
Medium and Support:
Born in Springfield, Pennsylvania, of Quaker heritage, Benjamin West was the first American artist to acquire an international reputation. He emigrated to England in 1763, and soon became one of the foremost painters of historical and religious drama. He was court painter to King George III and a founding member of the Royal Academy, London, and later its President.
This engraving was commissioned by Swiss physiognomist, J.C. Lavater, after a painting gifted to him by West. The engraving appeared in his book, Physiognomische Fragmente (Vol. IV, 1775-79). The subject is from Matthew (19:14): "Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of Heaven."
The original painting, signed and dated 1775, was the earliest of several versions by West of related compositions depicting Christ showing a child as the emblem of Heaven. The painting was in collection of La Salle University Art Museum from 1973-2018.