Unlike European monarchs, George Washington did not commission an official state portrait to proclaim and legitimize his accession to office.

Artists, therefore, faced an unprecedented challenge: How to conceptualize and represent an entirely novel public figure—an ordinary citizen who embodied a fragile national identity, but was only temporarily invested with power by the will of the people?

See the full article in the Winter 2020 issue of the Mount Vernon Magazine, a benefit of being a Mount Vernon Member

A sampling of presidential portraits in the Mount Vernon collection showcases the variety of images that resulted.

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