In August 1783, Congress authorized funding for an equestrian statue of George Washington in "Roman dress…his head encircled with a laurel wreath." They commissioned American painter Joseph Wright for a bust of the victorious Commander in Chief. Wright executed this cast bas-relief portrait as an offshoot of that project. Bust-length, profile portraits were extremely popular in the late eighteenth century. Based on ancient Greek and Roman examples, they appealed to neoclassical tastes. They also embodied the individualism and rationalism of the Enlightenment era by demanding close, objective observation for an accurate depiction. More

Date

1783-1785


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Plaster (portrait), wood, gesso, gilt (frame)


Dimensions

Overall (With frame): 20 in. x 16 7/8 in. x 1 3/8 in. (50.8 cm x 42.86 cm x 3.49 cm)
Overall (Without frame): 16 3/4 in. x 13 3/4 in. (42.55 cm x 34.93 cm)


Credit

Purchase, 1959


Object Number

W-2261


Colors


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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