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Rembrandt Peale (artist)



Rembrandt Peale was 17 years old when he first painted George Washington from life (in person, rather than from an existing image). The artist’s father, Charles Willson Peale, had previously painted Washington. He asked the president if his son could also paint his portrait. Washington agreed to three sittings of three hours each. Years after Washington’s death, Rembrandt Peale combined many different images of him into a single portrait. He called it a “standard national likeness” of Washington. It was more of an icon than a realistic portrait. Peale painted 79 versions of the portrait between 1824 and 1860.

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Rembrandt Peale (February 22, 1778 – October 3, 1860) was an American artist and museum keeper. A prolific portrait painter, he was especially acclaimed for his likenesses of presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Peale's style was influenced by French neoclassicism after a stay in Paris in his early thirties.