Black chalk, white-chalk heightening, and graphite on blue laid paper. 18 7/8 x 14 1/4 in. • 47.9 x 36.2 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.
Study for John Adams, 1783
In a land where horsemanship was often men’s touchiest point of pride, Jefferson had to admit he never saw Washington’s like for grace and control in the saddle. A froniter runner and Indian wrestler — his friend George Mercer described his frame as
padded with well-developed muscles — Washington had by 1774 refined mere energy down to a grace of least movement, the higher athleticism of the dance. And he danced well.