George Washington

Artist: John Trumbull (American, Lebanon, Connecticut 1756–1843 New York)

Date: 1780

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 36 x 28 in. (91.4 x 71.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Charles Allen Munn, 1924

Accession Number: 24.109.88

Description

In this portrait, George Washington (1732–1799) is shown standing on a bluff above the Hudson River with his enslaved personal servant, Billy Lee, on horseback behind him. The view across the river encompasses West Point, New York, with a red-and-white banner, possibly the Navy ensign adopted in 1775, flying atop the fortress. Trumbull had served on Washington’s staff as an aide-de-camp early in the Revolutionary War. He painted this portrait from memory about five years later, when he was studying in London. It was the first authoritative representation of Washington available in Europe and was soon copied throughout the Continent.

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