- Title: George Washington
Artist: Rembrandt Peale
Date: ca. 1846
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 36 1/8 x 29 1/8 in.
Location: on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774)
- The portrait titled “George Washington” by Rembrandt Peale, is a result of an unintentional series that he began in 1795. Rembrandt’s first painting of George Washington came when his father, Charles Willson Peale was able to get President George Washington to agree to sit for a portrait. Because Washington rarely sat for portraits this was an amazing opportunity for Rembrandt who was just seventeen at the time. In conjunction with this rare event; Rembrandt used the chiaroscuro technique and his realistic painting style to create a series of paintings based on his original Washington, one of which was the one he painted in 1846. In this particular painting, I believe he used light and shadow to display Washington’s personality and facial features as his presidential term was coming to an end. This symbolically represents the darkness of the past and the optimistic future given his influence as president of the United States. In other words, I believe this painting represents the hope for the country’s future as a result of the foundation Washington was about to leave behind.
- I am extremely interested in using this painting as the basis for my self-portrait because I am very much intrigued by Rembrandt’s use of chiaroscuro. His amazing ability to control the line of sight through the use of light and shadow is something I would really like to experiment with on a portrait of my own.
- Real: successful, driven, optimistic, attractive, loving, caring, selfless, fun, classy, poised, and witty.
Fake: narcissistic, extroverted, boastful, rude, and selfish.
-Consider what are some “truths” and “lies” about yourself that you are integrating into this project. What can we learn about you from this portrait? Write a short paragraph about that.
When coming up with a concrete idea for this project I really had to think about it. After giving it some thought I came up with the idea of combining beauty standards with truths and lies. In doing this I found that a common idea tossed around in the beauty industry is that the more symmetrical a persons face is the more attractive they are, I wanted to test the theory. To the best of my ability, I drew my face symmetrically which resulted in an odd looking replica of myself.Aside from beauty industry standards I wanted to portray myself in a somewhat glamorous light. By doing this I wanted to display truths about myself such as, always wanting to look my best and lies like I am a stuck up person because of the way I carry myself. I believe this work can be observed many different ways. Overall the combination of all these things along with inspiration I got from Rembrandts “George Washington”I think the goal has come to fruition.