When you look at a $1 bill in your wallet, it’s the familiar face of our nation’s first president staring back at you – George Washington. He is in a three-quarter view, a pinch of a smile, gray hair and also quite elderly.
At the current exhibit “The Many Faces of George Washington” at the Temecula Valley Museum, you’ll see many versions of Washington, young and old.
It is a traveling exhibition that also spans over Washington’s entire life, focusing on traits that made him a leader and his choices that led him to help create a democratic government.
One may ask, “‘The Many Faces of George Washington’? What does that mean?” It could easily be about the artwork of Washington done by a variety of artists or it could simply be just the faces of a man aging through time.
The images of Washington are on a series of panels. Although each representation of the former president are different from one another, they all feature commonalities – including portrait paintings that feature a proud man with his chin up, the face of a true leader. This exhibit also features photographs and documents.
One portrait painting in particular that stuck out was the young face of 17-year-old Washington titled “Young Surveyor.” The light shines on his face, blue eyes gleaming, wearing a red coat with a green collar and white shirt poking out from underneath, and of course, chin up. Although he is young in this portrait, one can get the sense that this is the face of a leader and a brave solider.
It was also interesting that around the age of 17 this man held a job with an income that allowed him to buy valuable land of his own, according to literature the museum provided. I don’t know about you, but that is quite an accomplishment of more than any other 17-year-old I know.
If you hadn’t researched anything about this exhibit previously, then you should know that it doesn’t feature any actual artwork. All of the artwork presented is printed onto panels. This exhibit is more informative. Since it is a traveling exhibition it would make sense why there are no paintings on the walls.
This is a great exhibit for those who are interested in learning more about our nation’s first president. It is insightful and provides new information, such as his wife Martha Washington who was widowed with two young children before she met him.
“The Many Faces of George Washington” exhibit will run until Feb. 16 and the museum asks for a $2 donation per guest.
Temecula Valley Museum is located at 28314 Mercedes Street and can be reached at (951) 694-6450.