Oil on canvas; 71.5 inches x 53.25 inches (181.6 cm x 135.3 cm). U.S. Senate, Washington, DC. (First replica by Peale owned by and on view at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.)
This heroic image of Washington was so popular that Peale went on to create between 75 and 80 replicas with only small variations. In some paintings Washington is in military garb, in others he is in civil dress.
Rembrandt Peale’s[from The Peale Family: Creation of a Legacy, 1780—1870; edited by Lillian B. Miller, 1996]Portholeportrait shows Washington as the statesman in civilian dress, the figure set within a trompe l’loeil oval frame simulating stone. The frame expands in the form of a large masonry monument encircled by an oval oak wreath and surmounted by a keystone with the head of Zeus-Jupiter. A Plaque below is inscxribedPatriae Pater.This was a strange painting with perhaps no recent formal precedent beyond the French Rococo memorial portrait type.