"But when it is known and recollected that his Aspect was as Noble as his Conduct, and that his countenance corresponded with his character, it is impossible to suppress a patriotic and natural desire to behold an impressive Image of his Countenance." - Rembrandt Peale, Washington (1826)

Rembrandt Peale first painted George Washington in 1795 when he was only seventeen years old. Almost thirty years later, the artist reworked his life portrait into what he called his "Standard National Likeness," or George Washington, Patriae Pater, which depicted Washington in a stonework oval or "porthole." Peale vigorously promoted this image over the next three decades, executing at least 75 replicas and several prints of it. By popularizing his "perfect representation" of Washington to icon status, Peale - an advocate of physiognomy or the idea external appearances revealed one's true character - believed succeeding generations of Americans would be enlightened by and elevated to Washington's great nobleness.



c. 1850




Oil on canvas, carved gilt wood frame, glass


Overall (H x W, framed): 42 5/8 in. x 35 3/4 in. (108.27 cm x 90.81 cm)
Other (H x W): 36 in. x 29 1/2 in. (91.44 cm x 74.93 cm)


Bequest of Luisita L. Cofer, 1956


(Reverse not examined in 2016.)


Signed at lower proper right front of canvas, in dark brown paint: "Rembrandt Peale."

Object Number



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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