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Mary’s Imaginary ‘Learning to Observe Trivia’

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1. Who do you think this man is?

Answer: Most kids will figure out that it’s George Washington, the first president of the United States.

2. Do you think that Washington is wearing his presidential outfit?

Answer: No, Washington is wearing his war officer outfit. Peale and Washington fought in the Revolutionary War together. Peale brought his art supplies to the battlefield and was able to paintminiatures of war officers including Washington. Peale became the first painter in the American Revolution.

3. Why did we have the American Revolution?

Answer: Americans fought against England in order to free the American colonies from their government. The Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania had commissioned Peal to paint a full-length portrait of George Washington in 1779. The portrait was to honor Washington for his leadership and was displayed in the Council’s chambers.

4. What can we tell about Washington just by what he’s wearing?

Answer: He’s a military officer. The blue ribbon across the breast down the coat indicates that he was an officer. All general officers had to wear the ribbon. It was an order by general Washington in 1775.

5. Is the sword a war sword?

Answer: No, it’s a dress sword. It’s the only time that Peale had included the dress sword out of all the eight full lengths of Washington’s portraits.

6. How many stars are on the flag?

Answer: thirteen stars that represents the thirteen colonies. The flag was carried throughout the war. It was a rank flag of Washington as a commander in chief during the Revolutionary War.

7. What season does the portrait represent?

Answer: The battle took place on Christmas Eve. It’s winter.

8. Is Washington’s pose relaxed?

Answer: Yes his legs are crossed and his hand is placed on his hip.

9. Does Washington seem important?

Answer: Yes. He looks like a leader, strong, powerful and honorable.

10. How old do you think Washington is?

Answer: forty-seven.

11. Does he look tall or short?

Answer: Tall at six feet two inches and weighing 220 lbs.

12. Does his head look in proportion to his body?

Answer: No it appears to be small for his large body. Washington did in fact have a small head and a larger body. Peale had captured his size.

Peale had made many copies of this portrait. The original copy displayed in the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. One of the copies is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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