Photo 4: Statue of George Washington in North Carolina State Capitol.
Members of the North Carolina legislature appropriated $10,000 to hire Antonio Canova, then recognized as the world's best sculptor, to create a marble statue of George Washington for the State House. Sculpted in Italy and placed in the rotunda of the State House in 1821, this classical Washington, dressed in a tunic like a Roman soldier, was at first detested by many who thought the general should have been clothed in his military uniform. The statue soon came to be a source of pride for the citizens of the state, however. When the statue was destroyed in the fire of 1831, plans were immediately made to replace it and to have it placed in the new Capitol. However, not until 1970 was a copy made and placed in the Rotunda, where it stands today, a reminder of the Capitol's early classical influence.
Questions for Photo 4
1. Why might some people have found the statue offensive when it first was placed in the North Carolina State House in 1821?
2. Why do you think the sculptor thought it was appropriate to present George Washington in classical dress?
3. What do you think would be the reaction to a sculpture of a present-day politician in Roman or Greek attire?
* The photo on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of Photo 4, but be aware that the file will take as much as 30 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.