3-D recreations by Pitt anthropologist bring new dimension to first president
The computerized three-dimensional image of Washington at age 19, as well as images as he appeared as a Revolutionary War general at 45 and president at 57, are the result of a yearlong multidisciplinary effort led by University of Pittsburgh anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz.
No one ever painted or sculpted a likeness of Washington when he was an unknown frontier surveyor; in fact, no portrait of him before age 40 exists. But Schwartz said the new images are as close as he could come to a forensic reconstruction of Washington, without the bones. "They look real to me," he said.
The 3-D full-body reconstructions are as yet expressionless, hairless and naked, but will serve as the basis for three full-size, lifelike models to go on display in a new museum opening in October 2006 at Washington's Mount Vernon estate in Virginia.
The 19-year-old version will be used later to sculpt a statue of the 21-year-old Washington now planned for a renovated Point State Park.
Even in their current state, "I think all the drawings show a strength and determination, if you will, that the Gilbert Stuart portrait [on the dollar bill] is lacking," said Jim Rees, executive director of the Virginia estate.
As Rees had hoped at the project's outset, Washington "comes off as stronger, more physical" than he appears in formal portraits.
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