Journal article

What did the early American presidents really look like? Gilbert Stuart portraits as a "Rosetta Stone" to the pre-photography era

Krista A Ehinger, Eric L Altschuler

PERCEPTION | PION LTD | Published : 2011


The American painter Gilbert Stuart (1755 - 1828) painted many prominent individuals, including the first six presidents of the United States, and several of his later subjects were also photographed. We compared these photographs to Stuart's portraits of the same individuals and characterized the differences between Stuart's representations and his subjects' actual appearances. This allows us to create more photographic likenesses of other Stuart subjects, including individuals who lived before the invention of photography.