The painting is often described as the "Signing of the Declaration of Independence", but this is an error. The painting actually shows the five-man drafting committee presenting their draft, an event that took place on June 28, 1776, and not the signing of the document, which took place later.
The painting shows 42 of the 56 signers of the Declaration; Trumbull originally intended to include all 56 signers, but was unable to obtain likenesses for all of them. He also decided to depict several participants in the debate who did not sign the document, including John Dickinson, who declined to sign. Because the Declaration was debated and signed over a period of time when membership in Congress changed, the men in the... Read More