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Washington: The Myths and the Man

Washington: The Myths and the Man

Philadelphia Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1963-1930), “Washington’s Inauguration at Independence Hall,” (1793), 32” x 42”

This exhibition presents thirteen original paintings by Philadelphia artist Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930), along with 17 historical documents that reveal facts about George Washington’s actual life, and help viewers better understand the man behind the myths. By focusing on Washington’s private life at Mount Vernon, the exhibit explores what motivated him to become the public servant.


The glorification of Washington continued for more than a century after his death, culminating in the romanticized popular history paintings of Ferris. These canvases present a remarkable, appealing, and virtuous figure but provide limited reliable information about the “Father of Our Country.”


This traveling exhibition comes to the Butler from the Virginia Museum of History & Culture with support from the Robins Foundation. The Butler’s exhibition, which is underwritten by a generous donor, will be displayed in the MacIntosh gallery.


Exhibition, Featured


February 18, 2024 - May 12, 2024