Happy Birthday John Vanderlyn!! This American born artist from 1775 was an historical and allegorical painter who has the distinction of being the first American painter to study in Paris. Although he did paint portraits, he aspired to a more serious path for his painting. He wished become a significant player in shaping historical and genre painting of early America. After studying for at least 5 years in Paris, he returned to America, only to return to Europe, this time to Rome where he completed his most famous work. Ariadne of Naxos, the painting below, is a magnificent classic, idealized nude languishing in a vast background. Unfortunately America could not offer Vanderlyn the commissions Europe could, so his career came to a standstill.