Boston Art Commission

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Click on thumbnails to view additional images of this piece:
  • 29-BAC 1X1-George Washington
  • 29. George Washington - 1
  • 29. George Washington - 2
  • 29. George Washington - 3

George Washington

Artist:

Thomas Ball

Location:

Boston Public Garden, near Arlington St.  

Location

Boston Public Garden, near Arlington St.
United States
42° 21' 13.8096" N, 71° 4' 15.4704" W

Neighborhood:

Back Bay

Type:

Sculpture

Year:

1869

Medium:

Bronze and Granite

Collection:

City of Boston

Funders:

Unknown

Description:

This statue commemorates George Washington not as President but as the Army’s Commander-in-Chief. Long before the fight for American independence began, Washington had distinguished himself as a British colonel during the French and Indian War. He returned to civilian life when the war ended, and he only gradually came to oppose British rule. As fighting escalated between the colonial and British troops, Washington recognized the need for a unified army of resistance. He agreed to lead the newly formed Continental Army in 1775, and, fourteen years later, was unanimously elected to become the first President of the United States. Despite his popularity, Washington felt reluctant to accept the Presidency, and he voluntarily resigned after his second term. Thomas Ball’s sculpture therefore shows Washington in the role he was more comfortable assuming—that of a military leader, not a politician. He appears calm and assured, even while leading a largely untrained and ill-prepared army against one of the world’s strongest military powers.

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