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GEORGE WASHINGTON  [ the Athenaeum portrait ]

Oil on canvas, 1796
48 x 37 in. (121.9 x 94 cm)
Jointly owned by the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington (NPG.80.115), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1980.1); William Francis Warden Fund, John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund, Commonwealth Cultural Preservation Trust

Stuart recognized that he should use this portrait to fulfill his many orders for replicas and received Washington's permission to keep it. Washington requested a replica for himself, but Stuart never delivered the portraits to the Washington family. The strikingly fresh aspect of this life portrait comes from Stuart's application of subtly varied skin tones in separate, unblended touches of the brush. His technique is visible even in the shaded areas under the chin, where Stuart alternated darker and lighter flesh tones to indicate shadow and reflected light. The president's white-powdered hair and blue eyes stand out in contrast.

GALLERY:  1. Stuart in Newport & Scotland  |  2. Stuart in London  |  3. Stuart in Dublin  |  4. Stuart in New York
  5. Stuart in Philadelphia  |  6. George Washington Gallery  |  7. Stuart in Washington, D.C.   |  8. Stuart in Boston

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