Junius Brutus Stearns was an American painter best known for his five-part Washington Series (1847–1856).
He was member of the National Academy of Design for several decades and member of its council.
He was born Lucius Sawyer Stearns in Arlington, Vermont. He named two sons after him, one Lucius Stearns, and the other Junius Brutus Stearns, Jr. Stearns, Jr., served in the Civil War in the 44th Regiment. JB Stearns served in the Civil War as well, New York's 12th Regiment. He also had two other sons, Raphael and Michaelangelo, and a daughter, Edith Sylvia.
His painting The Millennium was submitted as credentials for his admission as a member of the National Academy of Design.
He died September 17, 1885, in Brooklyn, New York, in a horse-and-carriage accident after returning from a night at the theatre. He was interred at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Stearns is most famous for his series on George Washington. Of these his painting, Washington as a Statesman, depicts President Washington addressing the Constitutional Convention; it is the subject of a US Postage Stamp in 1937.
Stearns also painted a second series of Washington in which he depicted free blacks. Not as much is known about this series or the intentions of the artist in so portraying blacks on the eve of the Civil War, although there was supposition by Mack, et al.