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In U.S. Frigate Congress on the California Coast, artist Christopher Blossom presents us with the flagship of the California squadron during the war with Mexico. Built between 1839 and 1842 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Maine, the Congress served off South America in the 1840s.
The Civil War brought Congress back to U.S. waters, joining the blockade of the Confederacy's Atlantic coast. In March 1862, US Congress was attacked by the ironclad CSS Virginia and forced to surrender.
"This painting is not a particular historical moment, but rather a classic marine composition," Blossom says. "Looking for a different approach, I placed the bow in shadow, lighting the aft part of the ship, layering the light and shadow parts of the sails to create depth."

"U.S. Frigate Congress on the California Coast"

  • Christopher Blossom