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

Monday, December 12, 2016

George Washington

This 1795 Portrait of George Washington by Rembrandt Peale hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
"When Americans chose their first president under the new Constitution of 1788, George Washington's election was a foregone conclusion. But despite Washington's prestige, his presidency had its critics. Toward the end of his administration, one newspaper branded him a 'scourge and misfortune.' This portrait shows some of the stress that even our first president felt under the burden of the office. Even under attack, however, Washington's firm leadership gave credibility to the new federal government and assured its survivability.

Young Rembrandt Peale, then seventeen, was so nervous about painting Washington that his artist father, Charles Willson Peale, had to come along to the sittings to soothe his son's jangled nerves. The younger Peale made several replicas of his resulting portrait, including this version." -- National Portrait Gallery

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