Today Benjamin West is remembered because he was the father of American painting: and many like to think of him as the only American ever to become President of the Royal Academy of England. Benjamin West grew up in a deeply religious Quaker family. Quaker beliefs forbid the use or creation of images or icons in a strict adherence to their view of the second Commandment barring graven images.
With the help of his faithful Indian friends—who taught him to create colors from the elements of the earth, and his faithful cat Grimalkin—who willingly sacrificed the hairs of his tail for Ben's paintbrushes, the aspiring artist continued to paint the scenes of his bucolic childhood growing up in the wilds of Pennsylvania.
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