What is tattoo Tuesday about?

December 3, 2013


Today is Gilbert Stuart’s birthday.  He was born in 1755 in Saunderstown, Rhode Island. In those years before paparzzi, he became one of America’s outstanding portraitists.  Stuart is probably best known for his unfinished portrait of George Washington (above) that has become iconic, appearing on the dollar bill and elsewhere.  It is probably the likeness most of us call to mind when thinking about Washington.  The portrait was never finished, but Stuart did make copies of the portrait, selling them for $100 each (no Kinko’s either). Ref – Wikipedia

Stuart became very successful, recording likenesses of the rich and famous of his day, which can now be found in museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and other public and private collections.

I thought it was interesting that Stuart, “an artist accustomed to easily engaging and enlivening his clients with conversation and jokes, [he] was at a loss with Washington: ‘Anapathy seemed to seize him and a vacuity spread over his countenance, most appalling to paint.’ Yet, despite the struggle to capture the President’s elusive character, Stuart succeeded in executing the image that was then and is now considered to be a definitive and insightful likeness.”

ref: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

It being Tuesday, I have a tattoo to accompany this posting:

washington tattoo

Why do people do this?


  1. I think he was too busy for sitting for a portrait and was thinking of other things.

    • He forgot to bring his Word Jewels, no doubt.

  2. That’s a tattoo!? I doubt GW liked sitting still.

    • Yes! Sitting still was probably not the easiest occupation for George.

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