“THE FIRST THANKSGIVING-1621”
BY KAREN RINALDO
THE WICKS HOUSE
The National Association of Christian Congregational Churches commissioned Falmouth artist Karen Rinaldo to create “The First Thanksgiving-1621,” the first historically accurate painting of the event, as “a Gift to the Nation.” The painting depicts the Mayflower survivors and the Wampanoags who joined them in a communal recognition of their friendship. The exhibit also features a video documenting the creative process.
Ms. Rinaldo researched historical records and first-person accounts of the Pilgrims who were present. Except for the 91 braves who are unnamed in the historical account, every figure portrayed is identified by name in an addendum provided for authentication. The painting includes Governor William Bradford, Wampanoag leader Massasoit, the English-speaking Squanto, and Priscilla Mullins (later Alden) holding Peregrine White, the first English child born in America. The scene depicts the mutual respect between the Native Americans and the recent arrivals at the time of the first Thanksgiving.
The painting was displayed at Pilgrim Hall Museum and Plimoth Plantation from 1995-2017. It has appeared in numerous textbooks nationally and internationally. It is currently on loan to the Museums on the Green to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim’s landing in the New World.