Cincinnatus Ubiquitous

Even a brief survey of the handicrafts presented in the Index of American Design will manifest the godlike qualities with which George Washington has been endowed, both during and after his lifetime. His image has long functioned as a symbol of unity and patriotism, his life as a national myth. Washington's participation in his own iconography is indisputable. He sat for at least 27 different artists in his lifetime, like 'Patience on a monument' as he put it. Gilbert Stuart alone did 100 portraits. A 1776 painting by Charles Wilson Peale was mass produced, giving colonists from Massachusetts to Georgia a common icon, an image to take the place of King George. By 1815, a travel book reported that 'every American considers it his sacred duty to have a likeness of Washington in his home, just as we have the images of God's saints.' From the iron foundry to the glass factory, from the textile mill to the dollar bill, the image of Washington still speaks volumes.
painting by Gilbert Stuart