The Real Face of the Young Marquis de Lafayette


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



“The Real Face of the Young Marquis de Lafayette”

Starting with a high-resolution photograph of the Marquis de Lafayette life mask created by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741 –1828); 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 1785!   As you look into the confident express on the face of the young Marquis de Lafayette fresh off of a successful revolution in America, is he contemplating another in his home country?

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.

Marquis de Lafayette Life Mask
Marquis de Lafayette Life Mask

“Born into an ancient noble family in France, the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) was a lifelong champion of the cause of liberty and a celebrated hero of both the French and American Revolutions. In 1776, when not yet twenty years old, he sailed clandestinely to America to offer his services to George Washington, whose brilliant second-in-command he would be until the victory at Yorktown ensured the independence of the United States. He was a trusted friend to many major American participants of the War of Independence, and a particularly close one to Jefferson. Lafayette returned to America in 1780 and, being charged with the defense of Virginia, played a large role in bringing about the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in October 1781. In gratitude, the Virginia legislature voted to commission two busts of Lafayette, one for the city of Paris and the other for the state, and on Jefferson’s recommendation Houdon was chosen.”1

“Lafayette sat for Houdon in 1786. Houdon had been commissioned by the State of Virginia to make two marble busts of one of the noblest heroes of the American Revolution. One of the busts was to be placed in the Virginia State Capitol, near Houdon’s full-length portrait of Washington, and the second was installed at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris on September 18, 1786.”2

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.


Sources & References:

1Busts of Franklin and Lafayette by Jean-Antoine Houdon.
2“Monticello.” Marquis De Lafayette Bust (Sculpture),

Additional information

Print Size

5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20