The Real Face of the Marquis de Lafayette


Giclee print on Kodak Professional Endura Premier Lustre paper. Signed with Certificate of Authenticity.



“The Real Face of the Marquis de Lafayette”

Starting with a high-resolution photograph of the Marquis de Lafayette life mask created by John Henri Isaac Browere (1790—1834) in 1825; combined with meticulous research into eye color, hair style and color, eyebrows, complexion, etc.; and the magic of Adobe Photoshop this resultant image takes the viewer back to that day in 1825. As you look into the tired eyes and expression on Lafayette’s face a midst his twenty-four state tour, what do you think Lafayette was contemplating?

Before photography, life masks were the best way to give us an exact likeness of their subject. Plaster would be applied to the head and sometimes upper torso to create a mold from which a life mask (cast bust) of the person would be created. In addition to being three-dimensional, the faithful transfer process of the life mask creation eliminated the “artistic license” and “sympathetic treatment” employed by many contemporary portrait artists. Thus, using life masks, I am able to complete a forensic/academic study of how the subjects most likely appeared using Adobe Photoshop to add flesh, hair, and other details.

“GILBERT MOTIER DE LA FAYETTE, who had fought side by side with Washington at Brandywine and at Yorktown, made his third and last visit to the United States in 1824. Landing at Castle Garden, in New York, on August 15th of that year, he set sail thirteen months later, on September 7th, 1825, to return to France, in the frigate Brandywine. He came as the invited guest of the nation, and during his sojourn here traveled over the whole country, visiting each one of the twenty-four States and receiving one continuous ovation.
At the request of the Common Council of the city of New York, La Fayette permitted J.I. Browere to make a cast of his head, neck and shoulders on July 11, 1825.
The result ……. was a likeness so admirable and of such remarkable fidelity, that General Jacob Morton, Rembrandt Peale, De Witt Clinton, S. F. B. Morse, John A. Graham, Thomas Addis Emmet and others, came forward and enthusiastically bore witness to its being “a perfect facsimile” of the distinguished Frenchman.

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.”

Rembrandt Peale stated, “The singular excellence shown by Mr. Browere in his new method of executing Portrait busts from the life deserves the applause and patronage of his countrymen. The bust of La Fayette, which he has just finished, is an admirable demonstration of his talent in this department of the Fine Arts. The accuracy with which he has moulded the entire head, neck and shoulders from the life and his skill in finishing, render this bust greatly superior to any we have seen. It is in truth a “faithful and a living likeness.” Of this I may judge having twice painted the General’s portrait from the life, once at Paris and recently at Washington.”

Marquis de Lafeyette Life Mask Reconstruction

J. I. Browere’s made life masks of many famous early Americans, Marquis De Lafayette, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Dolley Madison and James Madison to name a few.

About Your Print:

Your print comes with a certificate of authenticity and was made by a commercial printing service using Kodak Professional Endura Premier Lustre paper. My signature on the back is signed with an archival acid free ink pen and the blue logo stamp uses archival acid free ink.

Your print will last as long, if not longer than silver halide photographs under the same conditions. If you display your print in a frame under glass or acrylic board, try to avoid hanging in direct sunlight as the color may fade over time, as do traditional photographs.

This is a new ready-to-frame print. (FRAME NOT INCLUDED)

Prints ship with 1-5 business days via USPS First Class Mail. Free U.S. Shipping.


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