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Source:2014 Journal Citation Reports® (Thomson Reuters, 2015)

What Did the Early American Presidents Really Look Like? Gilbert Stuart Portraits as a “Rosetta Stone” to the Pre-Photography Era

  1. Krista A Ehinger
    1. Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Building 46-4078, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
  2. Eric L Altschuler
    1. Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, New Jersey Medical School, University Hospital, B-403, 150 Bergen Street, Newark, NJ 07103, USA
  1. e-mail: kehinger{at}mit.edu
  2. e-mail: eric.altschuler{at}umdnj.edu


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.

Article Notes

  • Correspondence to either author.

  • Received June 30, 2010.
  • Revision received December 15, 2010.
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