Xanthus Russell Smith Biography | Oil Paintings
2-26-1839 Philadelphia, USA - 12-2-1929 Glenside, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Xanthus Russell Smith was schooled at home by his artist parents and given drawing lessons by his mother. Between 1851 and 1852, at the age of twelve, he accompanied his parents and his younger sister Mary Russell Smith (who also became an artist) on the family's tour of England and France. After returning home, he studied chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School from 1856 until 1858, before enrolling at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He went to the Royal Academy in London for a short time before returning to America to enroll in the United States Navy from 1862 to 1864 during the American Civil War.
Xanthus Russell Smith served from September 1862 until July 1863 as the captain’s clerk on the USS Wabash, the flagship of Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont. Throughout his tour of duty, Smith was continually making small watercolor sketches and drawings he would later use as the foundations for his trademark painstakingly detailed works such as A South Carolina Coast Scene and Hilton Head, Port Royal, South Carolina. His drawings soon came to the attention of Admiral Du Pont, who commissioned Smith to paint ships of the Union fleet.
Once his tour of duty was over, Xanthus Russell Smith returned to Philadelphia where he began to exhibit his paintings of Union vessels and the South Carolina coast, drawing critical acclaim in the local press. Between 1868 and 1876, Smith executed fifteen large-scale marine paintings depicting the civil war’s major naval battles, including his massive eight foot wide, Battle of the Kearsarge and Alabama for the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Xanthus Russell Smith painted six other unique compositions of the famous June 19, 1864, naval battle between the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama, which took place off the coast of France.
Many paintings and sketches by Xanthus Russell Smith were used to illustrate a large number of Civil War histories, and in 1926 he wrote the biography of his former commanding officer, Admiral Samuel Francis du Pont.
Art Movement: Realism Art.
He Traveled To England, France.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.