Art: Houdon's Washington

George Washington was warrior, statesman, sportsman, gentleman. Yet few pictures or statues of him suggest more than one side of his nature. In Artist Gilbert Stuart's famed portrait he is a gracious, handsome worthy. Other paintings depict him as a conventional, bewigged military man; a somewhat pompous dignitary. The Washington nose, thought too big for beauty, was usually modified. There was a keenness in the face, too, that most artists missed.

Neither the nose nor the keenness escaped Sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon (1740-1828), whose proud, grim marble bust is generally conceded to be...

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