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 Washington.  
[George] Washington.
by Rembrandt Peale 
Pendleton's Lithography
Lithograph, black and white, 1827
Image with text measurement
      Height: 18.75 inches  (47.625 cm)
      Width:  15.125 inches  (38.4175 cm)
Cat. no. 38.00982.001
 
 
 
 
 

On display in the Old Senate Chamber in the U.S. Capitol is Rembrandt Peale’s striking painting of George Washington, subtitled Patriæ Pater (Father of His Country). Also known as the "porthole portrait," the painting incorporates classical elements to create a heroic image of Washington, which Peale hoped would become the "Standard likeness" of the first president.[1] To promote the portrait and provide additional income, Peale exhibited the painting in Europe, made numerous oil replicas (more than 75), and created a print for sale to the public (38.00982.001). He drew the lithograph in the spring of 1827 in the Boston studio of William and John Pendleton, whose state-of-the-art printing press was highly regarded. Peale was one of the first American artists to become skilled in the lithographic process, and he personally redrew his composition on stone to create this popular image. Contemporary critics considered it the finest print produced in America, and it won a silver medal, the highest award, at the 1827 exhibition at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The popularity of the print helped Peale publicize his work and increase his reputation.

1. Lillian B. Miller and Carol Eaton Hevner, In Pursuit of Fame: Rembrant Peale, 1778-1860, (Washington, D.C.: National Portrait Gallery; Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1992), 144.

 
 
 
  

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