Happy Birthday Samuel F. B. Morse!! Many people may not realize Morse, born in 1791, was an American portrait artist since his invention of the telegraph overshadows his artistic ability. He disdained painting portraits, although that is how he earned a living for a time. He dreamed of a Renaissance in America and wished to emulate Raphael or Michelangelo. However the ability was simply not there, although he was a passable realist. One large genre painting The Old House Of Representatives is rich in color and dramatically accurate in detail.