1774 c/o K. Tait Jarboe

The Body of Raphaelle Peale

Never contented and the eldest surviving brother, he made a spectacle of himself in taverns, using roast chickens like hand puppets and throwing his voice to sound their little shrieks of horror as he sliced away at them with a carving knife.

He missed his mother and hated his father. He made a pauper of his wife and children, all eight of whom tried, in their various ways, to shirk responsibility for his care onto each other as his health deteriorated.

He was increasingly delirious. They thought, perhaps it was mercury poisoning from his days as a taxidermist in his father’s museum. Either that or he was a drunk.

Ultimately, he died bitter and alone, leaving behind only his debts and his paintings. Over the years he had abandoned portraiture for the lowly genre of still life: bowls of rotting peaches, discolored cuts of meat, and wilting flora that vibrated with an uncanny embodiment.

Expecting boredom, one engages the thing to find it is engaging back. They will leave you haunted by corporeality itself, somberly struggling to repress the limitations of your own fragile, ephemeral body.

Your still lives embody me
We move through life, we sense, we see
We touch, we take, we hold so dear
We crush, we break, we pull too near

And I was never really ready now
Even in my hunger now and then
This melancholy never taught me how
I am bleeding from the blessings of your pen

Raphaelle, this is your father
Raphaelle, be the man...