Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Renewed Portraits

This article talks about a project that has worked on restoring 16 of Gilbert Stuart's portraits of founding fathers, including some presidents and first ladies!
The one of Abigail Adams is showing some changes Stuart made while painting it!
Treatment of Stuart's portrait of Abigail Adams revealed the style of her head gear changed from the time he started the painting in 1800 to its completion in 1815. He started with a much larger bonnet but covered it up and replaced it with a more stylish headdress later.
Traces of the original bonnet were revealed beneath the varnish but were covered again with restoration paint as Stuart intended.
Abigail Adams grew impatient with Stuart, admonishing him in letters to complete their commissioned paintings. He had apparently moved on to other works and was in high demand.
"I just don't know what to make of this Mr. Stuart," she said at one point, Anderson recounted.
She persisted, though, to have the paintings completed because the Adams family apparently thought Stuart's skill in capturing the essence of personality was unmatched.

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