Measuring George Washington

Presidential History Blog

After the American Revolution ended, the State of Virginia wanted to honor its most renowned son with a commemorative statue.

Finding A Worthy Artist

Fine art and fine artists were a rarity in Colonial America. Perhaps it was because people were more concerned with survival and earning a living than they were with fine accouterments. The earliest American artists of stature, John Singleton Copley and Benjamin West, began their careers in the US, but relocated in London, where their talents and skills would be better appreciated – at least financially.

houdon Jean-Antoine Houdon was the most famous sculptor of his time in Europe. He had produced marble and bronze busts of Jefferson, Franklin and Voltaire.

But Virginia, which was in the process of building its new State House in its new capital in Richmond, wanted to honor General Washington with a statue. There was no prestigious sculptor in America in 1782…

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