The Life Mask Face of John Quincy Adams – A Photoshop Reconstruction Part II
6th U. S. President John Quincy is my favorite president, though most of his accomplishments were after his presidency, particularly against slavery. Adams once reportedly stated, “The four most miserable years of my life were my four years in the presidency.” As a congressman, Adams said that he took delight in the fact that southerners would forever remember him as “the acutest, the astutest, the archest enemy of southern slavery that ever existed.”
It has been suggested that John Quincy Adams had the highest I.Q. of any U.S. president. Dean Simonton, a professor of psychology at UC Davis, estimated his I.Q. score at 175.1 Adams spoke and wrote seven languages by the age of ten. Adams also became a leading force for the promotion of science. As president, he had proposed a national observatory, which did not win much support. Adams became Congress’s primary supporter of the future Smithsonian Institution. He also translated a copy of the New Testament Bible from Greek to English.
Quite a resume for “Old Man Eloquent.”
The Life Mask – Another View
Below are my 2nd Photoshop reconstructions of J. I. Browere’s 1825 life mask of John Quincy Adams.
J. I. Browere’s “work achieved a stark realism uncommon in that day. His plaster busts showed the age-lined brow, the pock-marked face; his subjects appeared as they were, not as artists generally portrayed them. His life masks were, and remain, the most authentic likenesses of some historic figures who lived in a day before photography provided more easily obtained but similarly uncompromising portraits.”2
The image below no longer shows Adams looking straight ahead but now looking into the “camera.”
This last image shows a more serious Adams, with the slight grin removed. I tried to make this image reflect the Adams we usually see in his photographs.
The life mask compared with known photographs of Adams. Adams was 58 years old when his life mask was made as compared to age 76 in his photographs.
See the animated transition in the video below.
See Part I
Archival John Quincy Adams Prints Available
Sources & References:
1Bridget McCusker “The 13 Presidents with the Highest IQ Scores” Readers Digest. https://www.rd.com/culture/presidents-with-the-highest-iq-scores/
2Charles Henry Hart. “The Project Gutenberg EBook of Browere’s Life Masks of Great Americans” Doubleday & McClure Co., 1899 https://www.gutenberg.org/files/51890/51890-h/51890-h.htm (Public Domain)
4John Quincy Adams “The Presidential ham” http://presidentialham.com/u-s-presidents/john-quincy-adams-with-ham/
Original Life Mask Image Source: Google Arts & Culture, 1939, Publisher: TimeLife, Usage: For personal non-commercial use only Provider: LIFE, Photographer: Bernard Hoffman,Original ID: TimeLife_image_502491, Credits: LIFE, Copyright: © Time Inc. https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/-/7QHbk4rX6RR5bw