Presenter Information

Erin Sinski, Lynchburg CollegeFollow

Access Type

Open Access

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

April 2017

End Date

April 2017

Department

History

Abstract

Much has been written about the presidency of the United States and the individuals that have inhabited its office. However, not much research has been dedicated to the presidential portraits that commemorate each president’s term served. Yet it is within the plane of a portrait that an artist has encapsulated the gargantuan nature of the public figure alongside the vulnerability of the private individual. Presidential portraits possess a psychological nature which creates a reciprocity between the viewer and the subject. Through all of this the presidential portrait has become a means for the American public to understand and recognize each individual president. Thus this project will examine how presidential portraits can harness and impact the legacy of this office from a historical as well as artistic perspective. It will specifically address this question by examining portraits in light of a president’s popularity, a term’s historic and political context, the portrait’s artistic innovation and dynamic, and a president’s private personality. It is in this method that the project will explore how presidential portraiture has shaped the iconography of the public perception of United States presidency as well as the intrinsic value of each private individual who has born that title.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Adam Dean, Dr. Beth Savage, and Dr. Barbara Rothermel

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Apr 5th, 3:30 PM Apr 5th, 3:45 PM

Hail to the Chief: Official Presidential Portraits and the Imagery of the Private Individual in the Public Office

Much has been written about the presidency of the United States and the individuals that have inhabited its office. However, not much research has been dedicated to the presidential portraits that commemorate each president’s term served. Yet it is within the plane of a portrait that an artist has encapsulated the gargantuan nature of the public figure alongside the vulnerability of the private individual. Presidential portraits possess a psychological nature which creates a reciprocity between the viewer and the subject. Through all of this the presidential portrait has become a means for the American public to understand and recognize each individual president. Thus this project will examine how presidential portraits can harness and impact the legacy of this office from a historical as well as artistic perspective. It will specifically address this question by examining portraits in light of a president’s popularity, a term’s historic and political context, the portrait’s artistic innovation and dynamic, and a president’s private personality. It is in this method that the project will explore how presidential portraiture has shaped the iconography of the public perception of United States presidency as well as the intrinsic value of each private individual who has born that title.