The Mystery of The Increase Mather Miniature Portrait
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Increase Mather, a Boston Congregational minister, author and educator, was a determined figure in the councils of New England during crucial periods, in particular to the Salem Witchcraft. In 1683, when he was still in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, he refused to compromise full obedience to the English Monarchy, where he stated that the absolute obedience should only obtain for the God. Such courageous action of him prompts the understanding of his clerical puritan ideologies, believing there is only the god and “us” in the world with no middle boundary. It is clear that he was not only an advocate of religion, but significantly, one for puritanism as the portrait of him explicitly shows in his appeal. In addition, connecting to the Salem Witchcraft being a minister, although Increase did believe in witches as most of the people at that time did, he actually suspected a lot that “evidence could be faulty and justice might miscarry”. He distrusted the case of “spectre evidence” because “ a witch could assume the form of an innocent person”. When such mistaken evidence was eventually thrown out of court with the Mathers’ and other ministers’ insistence, the whole affair came to an end.
The portrait of Reverend Increase Mather by unidentified artist, is an oval oil on canvas one with the brass or silver elaborate chasing frame’s height of 16.5 centimeters, width of 10.3 centimeters, and depth of 1.2 centimeters which is enclosed by a German silver frame with ornate crest . The color of the image appears to be extremely dark, making Mather’s face barely distinguishable. This maybe due to the deterioration of the painting over time, given that it was painted in the 1700s although records do not specify the exact date or with ano...
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