tv The Presidency CSPAN November 28, 2016 12:01am-1:11am EST
their own words, including one-on-one interviews with justices kagan, ginsburg, and others. there is also a list of all current judges -- justices to see all of their most recent appearances on c-span and more. follow them on c-span.org. coming up next on the presidency, chief historian william digiacomantonio talks about how artists have depicted george washington, including the famous portraits by john and others. this program is a little over one hour. >> i went to welcome you all to the last unfortunately august
lunchtime lecture series at u.s. capital historical society. i want to end the series with something instructive, of course but also, not light and frothy by any means but something a , little less serious. by that i made, there is going to be a lot of visuals and i figure visual intelligence is something we can all lay a little bit of a claim to. for those of you who need the more traditional scaffolding, like an outline, we can start off with a few pages of that. for those of you to respond to competitiveness, have a couple door prizes i will give out at the end to people who can answer a couple questions that might occur during the talk. but mostly this is going to be visual. we are going to wait through to
going to wade are through two centuries, works of art, mostly paintings, stump statuary of george washington portrayed in art i should say a little bit about myself. they say i am chief historian, i am not an art historian, but anyone who appreciates the multiplicity of doing history, understands you have to work with art he goes that is how people express themselves when they are at their best and sometimes their worst, as we'll see. when i taught a course at gw university on george washington, i made sure there was one lecture on george washington in the art and i refined it a little bit for today's purposes, but bear in mind this is primarily intended for a college crowd. in the again, i laid no claim to being an art historian, so if any of the professional artist historians in the room want to call the on anything, try to
bite your tongue until afterwards and we will get to it. things to be looking for as we go through the top. looking at portraiture and contemporary print, basically ways washington was portrayed to his contemporaries while he was alive. moving on, history painting and genre art, basically washington images of historic scenes that actually took place or that artists wanted it to take place. iconography, a broader topic very exciting topic, that covers almost the entire time since washington was alive. attitudes across time. in history painting we find bachelorism versus realism. you will see the romantic style developed where these stories are tapped primarily for the emotions they evoke. and that again, the genre style
and i cannot if with issues of ancestor worship versus characters and parodies of the attitudes toward history. we start off at the very first portrait of george washington. this is the one that he enters the stage of history on, literally wearing the uniform they believe. we know he was wearing a uniform, most likely this uniform when he appeared at the second continental congress in 1775, showing things getting to a point where militarism may be an option. at this point in time, it is only 1772. 1772 marks a very quiet period during the imperial crisis to great britain and some of it, not all of its colonies, only 13 of the colonies in north america. so, we are wrong to say this is a picture of a george washington militant.
this is a picture of george washington, virginia gentry who is very proud to be a member of the british empire. it is a portrait that he had to do begrudgingly. a painter charles willson peale showed up at his doorstep in 1772. from records,1772 we know the washington is proud to be a member of the british empire, showing off in the background exactly what the empire is, unsurveyed wilderness spreading out to the west and his pocket is the marching orders for when he was in office for the french-indian war. he is proud to be a member of the british empire, serving with the british army in fighting off the french.
that is what this represents. the revolutionary war started, charles willson peale is still the guy we rely on. he had several children, naming each of them after a famous artist. you have probably heard of rembrandt, rafael and they all wanted to paint washington. at one point in his career, washington had been sitting all day for various peale sittings. and he said, "i've been well-pealed." [laughter] this was relatively early in washington's military career dated 1779 but is based on a prototype that he did in 1776. this painting shows, the left, you may recognize the symbolism in his victory at princeton. he was very smart. stevens is the other artist we will be talking about. he had a prototype and he decides he can just keep reproducing it for people. this one for the spanish in
congress. so, he made about 17 of these overall. he also painted george washington at the federal convention the summer of 1787 in philadelphia. i thought this was interesting because he was still wearing the generals uniform. he has not quite relinquished his claim to fame as a general yet come even while he is sitting as the president of a civilian organization. john trumbull painted this painting in 1794 for martha. painting called washington at times point where it is outside of new york city. probably had just come back from england at the time, so he wanted to make a mark for himself in the seat of government in new york city. everyone thought this painting was one of the best.
certainly people in his own family, his adopted stepson thought it was the best portrait ever done of washington. he did a version of it but the corporation the city of new york, the first work of art that was bought by the city of new york. he painted another version of it for the city of charleston, not to be outdone by new york city. charleston want to their own version, but trumbull is not that savvy of a businessperson. so, in the background, he could've painted anything he wanted. battle andted the when you are from charleston, this battle is not going to work. charleston says, we do not want it. thank you very much. trumbull kept it and we will see what he did with it a little later on. the third of the trifecta of early portraits was the gilbert stuart. the national gallery has a great exhibit on gilbert stuart several years ago. i hope you got to see it.
he did three prototypes. remember i mentioned peale recognizing when he had a good thing he stuck with it. gilbert stuart realized he had three good things, and most of the portraits he did of george washington were just spinoffs of the three prototypes. the first when he did is called the bond portrait in 1795. it was done right after gilbert stuart comes right from england where he studied under benjamin webb. like three or four of the early portraitists in the early republic or from new england. flowers in the wilderness, is what they like to call the early painters in the early colonies. trumbull had a hard time selling the career of a painter to his family. his father was the governor of colonial connecticut reminded him that he thought it would be
a hard sell for his son. gilbert stuart had a little bit more to go from, from rhode island, little bit more success in the british aisles primarily in ireland. before he comes back to the united states he thinks his first one of george washington for a guy named bond. most of the portraits gilbert stuart paints, the prototypes and the copies are named for the owners. this is the vaughn portrait. this is the famous portrait from 1796. 75 replicas of this were made during stuart's own lifetime. maybe some of you know the story. i have done some research and a do not know if it is possible or not. if it is apocryphal or not. he was commissioned to do this by the family.
they are both at the national portrait gallery. gilbert stuart realized he had a good thing, did not want to give it up, so technically he only had to deliver it once it was done, so he made sure it was never done. he continued to use it as the prototype. the third is also here in washington called the lansdowne portrait. it was painted in 1796. you might recognize it. it is basically just the head plopped on the body. this enabled gilbert stuart to do any number of copies depending on what the commissioner patron wanted. if you wanted a certain book on the table, a background between the drapes and so on. it was a very lucrative deal for gilbert stuart. it was painted for the binghams. a fabulously wealthy family and philadelphia.
, theleman in london revolutionary war. i will not tell you where there is another one of these in washington, d.c. i will not tell you where this. we can talk about that later if you want. these are all private portraits done by very well-paid patrons. it would cost a lot of money to do a portrait. regular people wanted to see what george washington looked like as well, and so you find images of george washington and all kinds of articles for public consumption. this shows george washington, but you can tell as well as i can this is just a guy on the horse. in a tricorn hat. what is interesting about this is the saying around it. it does identified as george washington, the founder and protector of american liberty and independence. if you were here for the talk couple weeks ago, that might resonate a little with you.
that was something very close to the titles of the senate actually ended up doing for george washington, but the house rejected it. in the popular mind, it was not such an outlandish title, the commander-in-chief. this is the cover of an almanac from boston in 1778, chance for you to show off. what just happened in 1778? the year before 1778. a major event in american history. the battle of saratoga, ok. so if you're making an almanac , in 1778, you want to honor the saratoga, which was not george washington. it was horatio gates. you see there is the glorious washington and gate identified. i do not know which one is which because neither of them look like either of the people they are purported to be and that is precisely the point. you just threw up they would
cut, a cheap woodcut and see what happened. as a matter of fact, these images were interchangeable with almost any other person in colonial america. that was the point. so people that wanted to consume images of washington in the public sphere still had to wait for something more accurate. they had to wait even longer than 1796, which is when this page from a textbook for young americans comes out. again, it identifies george washington. to me, it is ben franklin. i do not know. [laughter]
william: there were 11 with blocks cut for this textbook to represent 22 people, see you can tell. the only thing that would separate them is the addition of a hat sometimes. this is what people had to work with. eventually, the portrait of trumbull, stuart realized he had a good thing going with engravings. they could take trumbull's projected charleston portrait in 1792 and turn it into an engraving. america did not have the capability of doing an engraving of this quality, so trumbull had to send it off to england. this begins in the most popular engraving of george washington in the early 19th-century. edward savage started painting washington for harvard in 1789, and again he realized, why should i just do one when i could do a print of it and sell many? he does a simple print of george washington in 1792. what i find interesting about this, they are one of the few
that show george washington randy batch of cincinnati. i have only see others that are only in print, not in portrait. those of you that know the history know that washington had a very ambivalent relationship with the society of cincinnati and precisely because he was the president pretty much for life until he died. savage was another new englander. new englanders might have a reputation as puritans. for not appreciating art. we all know of course new englanders rodney forefront of art. at least in colonial and early america. version of something he did from his own print before. this shows 3/4 of washington and shows him holding a map. i wish you could see it all. it is a map of washington, d.c., which holds center stage, the portrait he did in 1796, savage -- it was finished.
again, he started in 1789 when he did just that washington had but he wanted to get the whole family. this is the first and only one of washington's family ever done. a talk on washington several years ago, about west in general, because through the opening, the drawn curtains, you can see the potomac river valley which was washington's key to opening up the west in securing the west to america through access to the atlantic seaboard. washington owned a lot of acreage along the potomac. drainage area. more out west though. and of course, he gave his name city we are looking at. one of the things about this portrait is it is so fun to read and when i teach my class, and i teach them how to read a document, i am not limiting myself to little documents. anything can be a document.
to be read, ok. so like a painting needs to be read, and so this one should be read as washington being a family man. we can see that, very, very proud of the city that would bear his name. i want to draw attention to the fact that, and you are sorry to miss this point, there is episodicsort of an succession that is going on. from the city of washington where he is resting his left hand, but his right hand is resting on the shoulder of his adopted step grandson. his hand is resting on a globe, so if you wanted to read into this, you could say, this is washington, d.c., extending its influence over the entire globe. pretty cheeky stuff for 1796, but from the perspective today, it is interesting to read and again, you would be sorry to miss that point.
the man on the right the , african-american servant is not william leave. william lee. i cannot remember the name of the guy. historians do know this stuff and feel confident of who he is but it is not washington's manservant at least. there are so many gizmos to operate. the other thing we have to think savage for is he painted the first image we have of mount vernon. you can see it today. the first one that people would began a long it tradition of holding mount vernon up as an icon today. and let's face it, you see any houses with the columns in the:, the first thing you're going to
think of, that is a mount vernon spinoff. this is the first mount vernon in public print in his resignation in 1789. the more important thing about this image besides it being the first public image of mount vernon, it is supposed to honor george washington's resignation. notwithstanding the fact that he is wearing a generals uniform, it is an image to honor his resignation from presidency two years earlier. but washington's whole career was really a career of surrendering power and this is going to be very, very important later on. we will touch on it right now with probably the most important image of washington as someone who surrenders power. washington to cincinnatus. cincinnatus was a roman general in the early days of the roman republic, not the entire, who surrendered, who gave up farming when he was called by his country, fought the enemy, came
back as a farmer, instead of holding onto dictatorial powers. much like washington's career called to serve as commander-in-chief, and when he resigns in 1783, it was one of the most amazing acts in human history. george the third said, if he gives up power, he will be the most famous man in history. we see george washington as cincinnatus. artist -- this is the installation of his famous statue in the virginia statehouse in richmond in 1796. again, this is something we can read. what are some of the things you notice? the --, a word that was perfectly fine to use then but has gotten a bad reputation now. a symbol of unity,
basically ax handles to symbolize coming together. there is more strength in a bunch of sticks than just one stick. his cloak is draped over it as if to say, yes, the power is there but it is neutralized by my cloak. he has hung up his sword, again he is surrendering military power and it is replaced by a cane. and the plow was waiting behind him. very much a farmer just like cincinnatus. another but this is one that was made close to washington's death in 1802. by this time, washington's face is readily identifiable. we are past the time when he is looking like ben franklin across the almanac. we are at the point where almost everyone recognizes gilbert
stuart's face. again, it is multitasking. gilbert stuart face on a body of washington. again, you have to read this. i call it an orgy of allegories, so many things going on you do not want to miss. many of us recognize the liberty given to enslaved people. liberty itself is stamping on a snake, which was harkening back to eden. the time one snakes were evil. we find father time here with a system and hourglass. universal symbol of time's passage. i to call attention to the native american at the lower right. this is probably the most historically factual message of this entire scene because in fact the president equaled
george washington in the humanitarian policy he showed toward the native americans. even before washington's death, he becomes a major focus of history paintings in a grand manner. for many americans, people in the british empire, the electric world, thentic academy of history painting closest to his early life was benjamin west, the death of general wolf in 1759 in the painting is done in 1771 for the king. benjamin west is a name you heard me say a few minutes ago. three great early portraitist of washington all studied under benjamin west. trumbull, gilbert stuart, and peale but a painter
america, pennsylvania, goes to london and sets up shop, becomes the king's painter. many go to england to mimic his career in a gravitated toward his studio. this is his most in this painting. most people if they know anything about it, they not caused a scandal when it was first done because it shows general james wolf in his clothes. that was considered somewhat scandalous back in 1771 because if you were anyone worth having a painting done of yourself on the heroic stage, you needed to be dressed up like a good roman would have been. the fact that this kind of realistic portrayal of the general in 1759 was still kind
of scandalous, even when it crosses the atlantic into the americas, is symbolized by this engraving. this is one artist's provision of the statute congress voted to erect of washington. as late as 1783. and you can see, well, i do not have to tell you, washington never wore a suit of armor like this. and it is not even really a roman toga, is it? this is like a velasquez conquistador. it shows americans are not letting go of certain tropes, iconographic tropes that they expected people to abide by and adhere to. the first american who worked on this side of the atlantic and then went on to do history paintings as well was johnson eagleton copley. the only reason i have this through perfectly honest is i love the self-portrait.
it is a beautiful portrait. of copley, and it shows the quality of stuff he could do. he was a estonian. was a bostonian. another new englander. he is in the field of history painting, the grand manner. this was painted a year after the self-portrait is all before. this painting is composed with an obligation to preserve, and actual moment in history. copley has the archetypical american eye for the chance to make a lot of money. so his feeling is, why just paint a picture of one person, when i can paint the picture of a lot of people and sell engravings, copies. everyone wants to see themselves in a picture, right? sure enough, he makes this of you can make an engraving, and
in case you are wondering, he if you are in the painting, he gives you a key. you have 55 patrons instead of just one. very, very clever. the thing about this painting, by the way, it is kind of over, over dramatizing. this is not the way it actually looked. lord chatham having a stroke for which he died several months later. the stroke of lord chatham does not sound like it will sell as well as the death of lord chatham. when i say it is an archival document i mean there are images of these portraits and studies of each of these people. trumbull who studied under benjamin west did the same thing. when he embarks on history painting, this is trumbull's famous death of general montgomery done in 1786.
interesting.ery i found out recently there is a new biography about him. i cannot wait to get my hands on it. he had a very interesting life, serving in the american army, went to england and was imprisoned as a spy. he might have been a spy. i don't know. that is why a want to read the book. he was trying to learn the art of painting in west's studio and befriends abigail and john adams and jefferson and they encourage him to embark in a series of american history paintings. he initially intended, if my memory is correct, 15 or 16 of them, but only executed about eight. this to my thinking is one of the best. erin and i have seen this painting. it is at the trumbull gallery in yale. it is rather small. we think of trouble as great historic paintings, but the early ones are small, only about
this big and they are beautiful. if you ever wonder what his inspiration is, it is west. doing the death of another general outside of the same city, quebec, just five years -- 20 years apart. now trumbull, like so many of the other artists, sees commercial potential for collecting subscriptions and engravings of the paintings he does. but unlike copley, he is more reluctant to alter the factual is some of his painting. they are all very realistic, but they vary by factual is. as we know with any history painting, you are going to fudge things in order to show off a moral dimension to the scene. ok? we heard this a couple weeks ago with debbie hansen speaking on
painting by powell. he fudged some facts because he saw higher lessons to be learned by imbuing a sense of heroism. whatever the theme happens to be. in this case, trumbull paints in the surrender of the haitians in 1776, he paints washington accepting the surrender of the commanding kernel. well washington, i don't think he ever even met the commanding general. but this is something the painter fudged because he wanted to show how commander-in-chief should treat fallen enemies and prisoners. when i first started putting this talk together several years ago, gitmo was in the news and i kept thinking about what people have to learn about the proper treatment of prisoners, prisoners of war. trumbull's death of general mercer princeton, a study done around the same time he is still
in london in 1786. again, it shows a dynamic battlefield, but again he is tweaking the facts, right? george washington, of here, this is the study be cut as that is the way it looks as it looks. but i like the study because it shows some of the frenzy of the battlefield more than the finish, more polished version. this is the only image we have of george washington of trumbull's and actual battlefield. when you are commander-in-chief in a major war, you should be at least one battle. we have him to thank for that. because four of his paintings and up in the rotunda by the 1830's, george washington is in two of them at the surrender of
yorktown, and this one is the more important one. i told you we would get back to the resignation of washington. this is the painting of his resignation to congress. cincinnatus. he is giving up power back to the civil authorities. by the time this painting is done, his eyesight is beginning to falter and combined with the fact that this is painted on a much larger canvas i think that soments for the fact that of the mastery you saw in some of the earlier ratings is just gone. it is gone by the time this is finished and installed but it is still an important document we can read for lessons of george washington's life. although the language, the lexicon for interpreting the
language of this painting might be lost to us today, back in the 1820's, it would have been more obvious to people for example that everything to the left of washington represents the domestic side of his life. right is public, the right hand is more public, and you shake with other people. that is the public license that is all of the legislators on the right but on the left is where you find the young ladies, martha up in the gallery, for she was not even near there, but we want to get her in there. trumbull throws in james madison , because he wanted to show all of the president's of the virginia dynasty city together. monroe was there because he was there, washington of course and jefferson was there because he was a member at the time, but trumbull throws in madison so they can all be together and show the virginians are kind of running things.
point of fact, four the first six presidents were virginians. we can see as with the statue of cincinnatus that the cloak means something. he has thrown the cloak. this could mean he is really in haste to get out of there because mount vernon is a couple miles down the road and it is near christmas eve, 1783, or it could mean he is throwing off the cloak of leadership, literally the mantle of power is the phrase we like to use. one other way you can see the subordination of the military to the civilian power, it is subtle but this guy is actually higher than washington. washington has center stage but this guy, charles thompson, the secretary of congress is higher to a crowd of washingtonians, no surprise the bureaucracy really is the power, right? that is where you go for locating the center of civil authority.
then as now. but come back to this painting later on on your own and see if any more signs and lessons it has to teach. the grand manner of historical painting is replaced by a romantic period of painting. romance, as the name suggests, it is supposed to evoke feeling, supposed to be looking at emotions, dark or foreboding. in the case of this, this is based on the image of george washington crossing the delaware. it is so dark and foreboding that the legislature of north carolina who had commissioned at decided not to take it after all because it is kind of moody, right? it was even moodier because it was done in the style by a
quaker artist edward hicks. the romantic style starts to supplant the grand style and you can see it throughout the 1800's. lloydinion me is a manual thehington crossing delaware." the first part in the 1850's was damage, so the one at the met now is a second copy. the first copy was destroyed by the air force in world war ii which was considered great britain's last revenge. the other neat thing about this painting is of course he is playing fast and loose. history painting is not as archival as it is in no blame he has no qualms with making stuff up which makes it a very interesting painting to read because everything in it was
meant to be interpreted for one reason or another. one of the things i like best is they say this person here for example, i do not know if you can see it. everyone thinks -- part of the way she looks, people think this is a woman and they think that because everyone in the boat, she is the only one rowing in the right direction. there might be something to that. i do not know. also, unlike trumbull and copley he was not very careful about who he populated the boat with. he did not go around and try to find out who was actually in the boat or the descendents. paint,es trumbull would if the guy was dead like mercer, paintingnot paint the
without mercer, he would paint his son. leutze does not have those kind of scruples allegis pays with anyone. there is an african-american, all kinds of frontiersmen. the boat is not like people to put it used, but one historian has said, if everyone who said they have an ancestor in washington's boat crossing the delaware were counted up, there would be more people in the boat that actually came over on the mayflower. and everyone likes to claim they were descended from the mayflower people. famous painting is much more dramatic. i do not know if you have seen this. it is george washington at the battle of mammoth. it looks pretty clear-cut, but the faces it shows -- all of these guys, some of them are in anguish and they are retreating from the british lines because charles leale has told him to retreat in washington comes up from behind the line says, what are you doing? everyone is in turmoil except for washington and that is
precisely the point. that is the emotion leutze is calling the attention to. not that washington is excited or upset, which he was, some people, sunken to present this is the only time they remember washington swear. but he wanted to get across precisely the opposite. that washington is restraining himself. he is seething underneath, but this is the only face that shows restraint. before the end of the 19th century, another strain of history painting is starting to evolve and it relies very much on the american revolution. it is the genre style shifting focus to everyday activity of people and coincides with the mechanical means of producing books. illustrated books. the more books in the hands of
the common people, it makes publishers want consumers to see themselves in the illustrations. you find a lot of genre paintings around this time done by illustrators like howard pyle here of theportrait battle of bunker hill. as i like to think of it, and i think i made this up but it is pretty closely to the truth, genre style painting shows everyday people in historical settings or historical figures in everyday settings. in this case you see every day people in a historical setting, literally watching the battle of bunker hill like we are watching the battle of bunker hill from the rooftops, from a different perspective five years later. it is not some grand moment in the battle. it is literally the common soldiers, nameless, anonymous, marching up. some of them are looking at their fallen comrades. how does this compare to the grand style history painting? well, a century earlier john
trumbull is doing this and in this painting the grand style, everyone here has a biography written about them, trust me. everyone here. none of these guys are anonymous. i pick this as an example although it has nothing to do with george washington because it is here in washington dc and i think we have to promote washington, d.c., when we can. it is the boston boys and general gauge painted by henry bacon. it shows a bunch of young soon-to-be americans protested british soldiers before the american revolution. look for it next time you are on the george washington campus. thomas prichard rossiter paints homeashington family at circa 1850, very genre themed.
washington with a victoria themed squire, the idea of family life. washington as a farmer, 1850, not just a farmer but a benign slaveholder. i try to learn what i could about stearns to see if he had any reason for depicting slavery as a benign institution but i was not able to determine that. john moore dunsmore, washington's last birthday, 1799. washington saying goodbye to his , his adopted step granddaughter married off to his nephew. this is a couple that moved into woodlawn down the road from mount vernon. genre scene by john ward dunsmore. i include this one partly because it shows george washington not in a magisterial sense of establishing washington
like with savage but show some in the messy path of telling others where to go. surveyors. and the bureaucrats and missionaries in the background. also because this is an washington, d.c., in the collection of the washington university. this is my favorite. look at it carefully. stuart's studio. painted circa 1920. it is an homage to gilbert stuart. it is a picture of a painter painting a picture. it does not get any more behind the scenes than that. i talked about howard pyle, the great illustrator of the genre style.
this is george washington crossing the delaware river at trenton where he was received to be inaugurated in 1789. it is painted in 1830. why is this a genre painting -- why is this a genre painting? this painting is not really about washington, is it? if you look close, you can see the mostly needed, personalized portraits are not of washington at all. it is of a young woman throwing petals at his feet. this is really a portrait of a young woman captured and history. while he was painting this for a bank in trenton, he took a spill from the scaffolding, had a near-death experience, and during the experience he dreamt that he met george washington, and so he recorded it in in a painting called "in a dream i meet george washington." the guy he says is george
washington is just some generic revolutionary war figure. we know he is george washington because of course he is on a horse. so he has got to be george washington, so that is why he used this painting to help me make the transition to iconography. what is so special about the iconographic style? it is just as representational but its means and effect are more indirect and abstract because washington is used as a means to some other end. unlike portraits are history paintings which teach history or the romantic mode, try to excite moods or lessons, or genre which are set pieces to entertain, iconography uses washington as a symbol of something else or uses something else as a symbol of george washington. for example, before anyone knew what george washington looked like, the same era as the
almanac covers, she wanted to convey the image of george washington, to show a picture would not cut it, because you do not know what he looked like so you would give the greatest leader of all, julius caesar. you know there is some link to the roman republic. i am going to race through the horatio reno's famous statue of washington and sees, but i would be remiss to not to show it and show some of the iconographic antecedents, statue of zeus, olympia's, famous painting of napoleon, 1811. i think he has an interesting career. it was installed in the capital, and people say, they did not
like the nakedness, so they had to remove it, but that is one of the reasons he would not move into the lawn, right? [laughter] william: there is a story there and i am not prepared to tell the subtext of the story. i do want to move on really quickly, because i want to make sure we have time. this is maybe the most part that will tear hearts more. this is the famous regionalist from the midwest in the 1930's, and this is called parson weem'' fable. it is one of the colonial revival movement and part of the ancestral worship.
the flipside is the building up historical characters through mythmaking and debunking myths is the other side of the coin. myths rely on notions. parody attacks the mythic images or icons. what can i say about this? the most noticeable thing is the ubiquitous gilbert stuart had painted in washington was 64, fully white-haired on the body of an eight-year-old cutting down his father's tree. parson weems, and the early i earlyfair -- the biographer who propagated the story from his childhood is holding back the curtain, on his own inventiveness. compare that to charles wilson peal's portrait. in case you don't get the spoof, would literally framed this
composition around the famous portrait. peale is drawing the curtain back on a package reality with specimens neatly packed. this is the natural history museum in philadelphia. his famous natural history collection like weems' story is a fabrication. it is a reality frozen in time like the stuffed birds on display. washington is static and unchanged, the same at eight as he was at 64. his other famous image, daughters of the revolution, not even daughters of the revolution but daughters of revolution wanted to show how blue haired ladies like this can actually serve as the establishment against the kind of movement that gave birth to united states in the first place. it is supposed to be darters of
the american revolution and read what wanted to show by 1932 when this was done, how much they had betrayed that legacy by becoming an establishment against which grant what would be happy to revolt. he is kind of dissing the dar for their having thrown obstacles in his way. he was commissioned to do artwork for a church and the stained glass company he had commissioned to do the work was based in germany and the years after world war i, the business with german companies was considered unpatriotic, and so they threw this in the way of executing the commission. this was his payback. you will see the equally ubiquitous washington crossing the delaware in the background, but it is really faded, isn't it? it is a faded legacy of the american revolution. i have not read this, but i have seen images that remind me of
byzantine icons, the elongated necks which i imagine he intended to show their otherworldliness. there are super humanness. scott, painted not george washington crossing the delaware but george washington carver crossing the delaware. he intended to point out racial stereotypes just as deeply as leutze's images are. this was his private exploration and personal statement of the forthcoming bicentennial, get 1975. you have probably seen this installed recently in the national gallery of american art. same thing, but another version i wanted to draw attention to in my last minute is larry rivers from 1953, the crossing.
i will read my notes so i do not stutter and take up time. rivers' study of the crossing cast a fractured light on historical narrative, ms. building and human nature altogether. no one, not even george washington, vaguely emerging as the figure on the horse and off-center. this is the washington, not this guy, this is the washington readily identifiable. each man moves in his own murky reality, unlike the common cause showed by leutze. rivers did this he said, after reading about the chaos of war in the noble "war and peace." whether you agree with these artists notions of history, as an artistic image, washington is so famous that he does not even need to be in the picture of george washington. we know because it is the
crossing and the guy on the horse that washington was there. the flipside is that symbols are identified with washington long enough and they persist long enough, eventually washington comes to stand for that symbol in turn. and so to demonstrate that, we all know this painting. you want to talk about the economy, just throw up a dollar bill and it is george washington. you do not even need to mention his name. this is the portrait in reverse. we know this is a dollar bill and we know the message he is trying to teach. washington is so famous he lieue of the eagle and
-- arrows and the laurel wreath. i am going to close with lincoln after stewart done in the bicentennial. this shows the complexity of iconography and how it plays with the mind. we look at this and fully expect to see george washington come all of the trappings of the image, but instead we see lincoln and we do a double take, right? the artist wanted to demonstrate that not just that this is a famous washington is but that each president, washington and lincoln, have a lot in common. they were both major presidents who started historical legacies, the nation and the post-civil war nation, and there legacies are unfinished today. i will close with the original, so, q&a. here is your chance. while you are thinking about q&a, we have a little bit of time, i have the lovely pins.
that fit on your lapel. i do not know where i got them the first of the two goes to the first one who can tell me where the other painting is in washington, it d.c. i saw your hand first. is it an original? was done byt gilbert stuart? that is the thing. all of the paintings i know in the office buildings, much less in the capital are copies of these copies, so i might have to stop you. and then i saw this lady's. >> the white house. mr. digiacomantonio: good for you. that is the lens down. [laughter]
william: good for you. you know what, my point was, how can i forget the white house? i know, right? good to see. it is a george washington university. they actually have one name for the original owners. they have one. i think it is a full one. i will have to look again. >> when they took it down at the portrait gallery they replaced it with a 3/4. william: before i give up the other one, give me time to think of another question. do you have any questions for me? >> do you have any commentary on national art? william: of washington? let's stick with washington. the portrait with both george and martha.
andsdown ise l there. i do not know what the other ones are. i suspect they have quite a few but i cannot tell you. you remind me that i need to go back. i'm sorry, the portrait gallery. >> you mentioned gilbert stuart used this one painting as a model for others. how long would it have taken him to crank out another one of these, the turnaround time to sell it? william: of course, our friend just left who would've been ideally suited to answer the question. i do not know how long it took to turn around. the.w that in of that, the thing that the master really had to take care of was the face and hands. other people studying in the story under you would do those.
you could turn them around fairly quickly. i don't know how fast they turned them around, but there are 75 floating out there, i imagine them it could be done ready expeditiously. >> what are your thoughts of martha washington's portrait? william: the one that is kind of landsdown. the i do not have much thought about it. later, yes. it is done during that, really the colonial revival style. i can tell you this, without even having a clear mental image of it, she never wore those clothes, late 1870's clothing. very victorian. or that in mind when you see it, that sometimes these people are rooted in things that bear no relation to reality.