"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

James Madison

This 1829-30 portrait of James Madison (1751-1836) by Chester Harding hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
"As a central figure in framing the Constitution, James Madison had a good deal of influence over shaping the American presidency. But helping to conceive that office did not guarantee success in occupying it, and much of Madison's own presidency was marred by his inept handling of the War of 1812 and the bitter criticism that it engendered. Derisively labeled 'Mr. Madison's War,' the conflict, one commentator railed, had been 'commenced in folly ... carried on with madness, and ... will end in ruin.'

The advent of peace in late 1814, however, mellowed feelings toward Madison. Although many of the issues that had spawned hostilities remained unresolved, the war had produced enough military glory to satisfy national pride. In the process, Madison emerged as the American David who had dared to take on the British Goliath.

In 1829, Madison came out of retirement to attend a convention for revising Virginia's constitution. While there, he posed for this portrait by the Massachusetts painter Chester Harding." -- National Portrait Gallery

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