This painting of early Florida history depicts the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León (c. 1474–1521) in the company of native Floridians. Moran painted this work to hang in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
Moran was familiar with the western Plains Indians and depicted them in the painting instead of the distinctly different Timucuan people inhabiting Florida at the time. While Moran’s vision of history is romanticized, his depiction of the Florida landscape is more accurate in the rendering of the clearing surrounded by palms, palmettos, and live oaks covered in Spanish moss and indigenous vines.
“This work is adventurous and detailed. I like how it takes you through the forest and swamp, and gives the feeling of being there at the moment it captures so well. It seems like you can walk into it and explore.” – anonymous