Monday, June 20, 2011

Shirtless George

Here is the founder of our country, George Washington, shirtless!

Oh what a scandal!

I did not realize that this scandalous sculpture existed!

Thankfully, my art student daughter enlightened me.

This sculpture, created by Horatio Greenough created quite the scandal in 1840.

The Wikipedia entry is as follows:

Greenough modeled his massive (30 tons) figure of “Enthroned Washington” on the great statue of Zeus Olympios which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (and which was destroyed in late Antiquity). The seated and besandled Washington gazes sternly ahead. He is bare-chested and his right arm and hand gesture with upraised index finger toward heaven. His left palm and forearm cradle a sheathed sword, hilt forward, symbolizing Washington turning over power to the people at the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War.

Well, the American people at the time thought it was obscene and hid the sculpture until at least the 1960s. That makes it all the more fun doesn't it?

And by George, he was chopped!

We met up with my California brother in our nation's capitol Friday. This was the highlight of our trip, besides dinner at La Fourchette, the restaurant we visited over our honeymoon, and breakfast at The Diner at Adams Morgan.


dive said...

Woah! If only I'd looked that buff in my late forties. Judging by other portraits of George, the shallow chest and pot belly of the typical eighteenth century gentleman might have been more appropriate.
Thank goodness neo-classicism is no longer in vogue. Can you imagine a Nixon, Reagan or Bush head on Zeus' body? Actually I hope somebody does that as it would be too funny for words.
This is an awesome statue, Neetzy. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. Wishing no disrespect to old George, this really ought to be decorated in a rainbow toga for Gay Pride Month.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Heeeeee, this post was totally delightful. I don't know whether I should be shocked or start laughing. Who knew? Enjoy your trip and tell us all about it when you get back!

neetzy said...

Dive! Heehee! I love the rainbow toga idea! And no, I cannot imagine any of the those former presidents heads on Zeus. Obama might be able to pull it off, but I think he is a bit too skinny.

Janelle, I didn't know either. Thank goodness for art history! We had a great time but it was too short. DC is only an hour and a half from here so we stayed just the one night!