George Washington finally died at the age of 67 on page 809 of Ron Chernow's long, long book, George Washington, A Life, and I moved on to Thomas Jefferson, the third president of these United States and not a friend of George's. George was a Federalist. Jefferson was a Republican. They started out friendly enough, but through George's first term of the presidency, their differences of opinion eventually forced Jefferson to resign as Secretary of State and George to refer to him thereafter as "that man" or "that scalawag." After that, Jefferson went after George in the press, undermining all of George's achievements. The difference between the two political ideologies of the two men had to do with how they interpreted the constitution. Read a lot like what goes on in Washington today. The difference being both of these men put the welfare of the people and the country first and foremost.
This portrait is the youngest portrait we have of Thomas. It was painted by Mather Brown in 1787 for a Abigail and John Adams to be gifted to Thomas. Thomas was forty four, a well bred, well dressed, very accomplished young man with red hair under that wig, fine, aristocratic, always tanned, features, long legs and well developed body. He stood six feet,two and a half inches, spoke four languages, was an excellent horseman, and was a charmer of the ladies--Abigail Adams among them. Abigail got to know Tom in Paris while husband John was the American ambassador. Abigail and Thomas shared an interest in landscape architecture and explored French gardens together. --There was nothing sneaky going on. Thomas was building Monticello and planning the gardens based upon the ideas he was picking up from visiting the breathtakingly beautiful gardens of France.
I had never heard of Mather Brown till yesterday when I Binged him. He was an American painter who studied under Gilbert Stuart and then went on to London to study under Benjamin West. He was West's most brilliant student. He painted outstanding historical paintings, then decided to concentrate on portraiture. While he painted the English nobility--including King George IV--portraiture commissions eventually dried up and he died in poverty. How sad is that! How annoying is that? Art is full of stories like these that irritate the hell out of me.
I have some more down time to catch up on my history reading. Last Friday, the doc wanted me to do four more physical therapy sessions. The workouts, and not getting a good night's rest, are knocking me out, but the knee's mobility improves everyday. I'm back on the elliptical trainer. I'm riding my bike. I'm walking daily, rain or shine, in the neighborhood longer distances. I am painting when I feel like it, which you know isn't often. That will change in Mexico. I've ordered my travel watercolor kit and a couple of blocks. We'll be on the beach for three weeks. That's at least 19 paintings. We leave December second. I have a feeling I'll be feeling just great somewhere between my house and the airport.