Artworks
George Washington

Quick Fact

Contributor

George Washington probably should not have been depicted with such a teeny tiny little head.

He was the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, the Founding Father, the first president of the United States of America, but there it is to be remembered for the rest of eternity. Way to go Charles Willson Peale…

On January 18, 1779, the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania decided that they just had to have a portrait of America’s bae George Washington for the Council Chamber so they enlisted Charles Willson Peale for the job. Peale, who before finding his love of painting was a carpenter, a dentist, an optometrist, a shoemaker and a taxidermist, was delighted at the commission and traveled to Trenton and Princeton battlefields, both sites of Washington’s battle brilliance, to work on the backgrounds for the painting.

Most of the portraits that Peale did of Washington were at the Princeton battlefield, but this is one of the only ones at the Battle of Trenton, in which Washington forced his troops to cross the Delaware River in the freezing cold on Christmas, no less. Kinda mean if you ask me, but I guess he’s a war hero or whatever. Once on the other side of the icy river, the Americans surprise attacked the Hessians (hired German soldiers fighting for the British) and captured like two thirds of them. The rest of them ran away like little babies. This win was a morale boost that the Americans were in serious need of, because at this point they were pretty much losing everything to the point that not even Washington thought they were going to win the war. But alas, they did and it was because of good ol’ George here depicted in his battle best - fancy riding boots, a lovely blue coat to show everyone who’s in charge here, and a face that says he’s not a regular officer, he’s a cool officer...but also a ~gentleman~.

 

Sources

Sources

  1. "Charles Willson Peale | George Washington | The Met." The Metropolitan Museum of Art, i.e. The Met Museum. Web. 25 July 2017.
  2. "Life Portraits Of George Washington." George Washington's Mount Vernon. Web. 25 July 2017.