Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How Much of a Trendsetter Was George Washington?

I went to the Brooklyn Museum for a teacher workshop today, and we saw a few paintings of George Washington. The first was Gilbert Stuart's huge piece, which we're most familiar with as the model for Washington's face on the dollar bill.

(Photo via brooklynmuseum.org)
Another Washington painting was the one that got me thinking, though. Take a look:

(Photo via brooklynmuseum.org)
What do you notice about it? Sure, G-Dub looks dashing as a young general. And yes, that's Boston in the background after the colonists whooped some Redcoat ass.

But what else stands out?

Here, let me help you...

(Photo via asos.com)
See it? It's SKINNY ARM!!!

Washington  is rocking the same hand-on-the-hip look favored by seemingly every female who's had her photo taken in the last five years. And the above painting -- which was created by Charles Wilson Peale -- didn't represent an isolated incident for Georgie Boy. Here's another...

(Photo via en.wikipedia.com)
...And another...
(Photo via outsidethebeltway.com)
...And another...
(Photo via presidentgeorgewashington.wordpress.com)
There have been tons of articles written about the stupidity of the hand-on-the-hip pose, and rightfully so. It looks moronic:

What hath democracy wrought? (Photo via forum.purseblog.com)
But I'm completely on board with the skinny arm look, now that I understand who invented it.

We already knew George Washington was a man of many talents -- soldier, statesman, intellectual, president, father of our country. Go ahead and add trendsetter to that list.

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