Oil and egg mixture on blue laid paper on canvas, 47.6 x 47.6 cm (18 3/4 x 18 3/4 in.)
One can only accurately discern a persons visual characteristics though careful study of the profile. Guess who this famous American is before reading further, for the answer.
- Gallery Text
- Few American paintings demonstrate the early nineteenth-
century fascination with the ancient world as powerfully as this profile
portrait. Stuart modeled it directly on the imagery of ancient Greek
and Roman coins, medallions, and marble relief sculptures. The third
president was certainly familiar with such classical sources. After
sitting for the portrait in Washington, he thanked Stuart for “taking
the head ‘à la antique.’”
Jefferson, one of the chief proponents of the neoclassical style in America, was particularly enamored of the profile format. Stuart’s painting was the fourth in a series of profile portraits that the president had commissioned for display at Monticello, his home in Virginia. Stuart was less familiar with this style of likeness; the portrait is unique in his oeuvre, which largely consists of half-length portraits in oil.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Kingstown, RI 1755 - 1828 Boston, MA)
- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) (The Medallion Portrait)
- Work Type
- Creation Place: North America, United States
Level 2, Room 2240, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, The Arts in the Eighteenth–Century Atlantic World
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- Physical Descriptions
- Oil and egg mixture on blue laid paper on canvas
- 47.6 x 47.6 cm (18 3/4 x 18 3/4 in.)
framed: 68 x 68.6 x 10.2 cm (26 3/4 x 27 x 4 in.)
- From the artist to the sitter, Thomas Jefferson, 1805; to daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph; to her daughter Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge; to her son Thomas Jefferson Coolidge; to his daughter Sarah Lawrence Coolidge Newbold; to his son Thomas Jefferson Newbold, Harvard class of 1910, 1917; to his wife, Mrs. Thomas Jefferson Newbold; her gift to the Fogg Art Museum, 1960.