A Stoic Countenance: Portraits of George Washington

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Few individuals have been as honored and revered in American history as George Washington. Elected as the rebellion’s military leader in 1775 as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and eventually unanimously elected as the first American President, he embodied the spirit of the American people.

Washington was a symbol of popular political participation and resistance to authority, while also being a champion of law and order. He possessed numerous virtues including duty, bravery, and loyalty that continue to inspire respect and emulation. These attributes along with his impressive physical stature moved numerous artists to create portraits of Washington during his lifetime.

The majority of the prints on display in the exhibition were issued during the last quarter of the 18th century, and seen together they give a rare glimpse into the attitudes and perspectives of that period.

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