National Museum of Catholic Art and Library - Exhibitions - The Declaration of Independence



In 1998, Victor Korolev, a Russian immigrant portrait painter worked for The National Museum of Catholic Art and Library. He was commissioned to paint “The Declaration of Independence.” Ironically, he wanted very badly to become a US citizen but was not able to get a visa to stay longer in the US. He had to return to Russia. Victor, a great artist did many paintings for the museum including Archbishop Bishop John Carroll.

Victor’s version depicts the founding Fathers in different positions then John Trumball’s version at the Capitol in Washington, DC. In the center, we see Charles Carroll of Carrolton whispering in the ear of Ben Franklin. Thomas Jefferson stands behind him in a red coat. On Jefferson’s right sits John Adams. Leaning and writing on the desk is John Hancock. To the right of him stands a very tall and proud George Washington.

Who was the first Catholic to sign the document? It was Charles Carroll of Carrollton. His cousin was John Carroll who was also the first Bishop of Baltimore, His Excellency was friend of Ben Franklin and George Washington.

On June 28, 1776, Jefferson finished writing the Declaration. On July 4, 1776, Congress had signed  this wonderful document of freedom.


This is Archbishop John Carroll, the first Bishop of Baltimore painted by Victor Korolev.