Artist: Giuseppe Ceracchi (Italian, 1751–1802)
Culture: Italian, Florence
Dimensions: Overall (with base): 28 7/8 × 22 × 13 in. (73.3 × 55.9 × 33 cm);
Height (without base): 24 1/2 in. (62.2 cm)
Credit Line: Bequest of John L. Cadwalader, 1914
Accession Number: 14.58.235
The Italian-born sculptor Giuseppe Ceracchi came to Philadelphia in 1791 hoping to earn a commission from the United States Congress for a monument commemorating the American Revolution. To demonstrate his skill and attract attention, he modeled portraits from life of George Washington (1732–1799) and other influential Americans, which were later carved in marble. Although Ceracchi did not receive the coveted order from Congress, many of Washington’s contemporaries considered this portrait among the most lifelike to be made. Indeed, in spite of the unfamiliar accoutrements of an ancient Roman military hero, the facial features are distinctly recognizable.