William Rush (1756—1833)

by William Rush (1756—1833)

North American white pine; 54.6 x 40 x 38.1 cm (21 1/2 x 15 3/4 x 15 in.) Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

by William Rush (1756—1833)

Terra cotta; 18 3/4 x 15 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. (47.625 x 39.37 x 31.75 cm). Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

by William Rush (1756—1833)

Terracotta; 19 x 14 3/4 x 11 1/4 in. (48.26 x 37.465 x 28.575 cm). Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

by William Rush (1756—1833)

Pine; painted white. Independence National Historical Park, Portrait Collection (Second Bank of the United States), Philadelphia, PA.

by William Rush (1756—1833)

Terra cotta. Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, PA.

by William Rush (1756—1833)

Bronze, stone base; 22 x 17 x 11 in. (55.9 x 43.2 x 27.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY.

by William Rush (1756—1833)

Terra cotta; painted white. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

Known as the Pine Knot Portrait.

by William Rush (1756—1833)

Bronze; H: 60 m.; W: 47 m.; D: 26 m. Musée franco-américain du château de Blérancourt, Picardy, France.

by William Rush (1756—1833)

Terra cotta; 21 x 18 3/4 x 11 1/4 in. (53.34 x 47.625 x 28.575 cm). Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

by William Rush (1756—1833)

Wood with paint. The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA.

For all their artistic and philosophical brilliance, the Greeks were failures at politics; Hamilton, in the Federalist, expressed horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were agitated. The Romans captured the American imagination because they had done what the Americans themselves hoped to do — sustain an extensive republic over a course of centuries. So the society of Revolutionary War officers called themselves Cincinnati; president, congress, and senate were all Roman terms. But the Roman example was also cautionary, for when they lost their virture, they slid into empire. When Franklin said, in response to a question from Eliza Powel, that the constitutional convention had produced a republic, if you can keep it, he and she would have remembered that the Romans had failed to keep theirs.

Richard Brookhiser
Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington (1996)