Essay on Horatio Greenough 's Marble Statue Of George Washington

Essay on Horatio Greenough 's Marble Statue Of George Washington

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Upon reviewing different photos of Horatio Greenough’s marble statue of George Washington, I immediately thought of The Iliad and The Aeneid. The large sculpture of Washington with a god like body, dressed in a Roman toga and sitting upon a Grecian style seat embellished with mythical symbols, related to the Greek gods and Hercules, initially invoked these thoughts. His statue is also holding a sword, which brings to mind an overall image of a warrior and hero. Initially, Greenough was commissioned to create the piece as a commemoration of the centennial of Washington’s birth , but to me this is a way to truly immortalize the great George Washington. Upon further evaluation, I see a relationship between the great founding father and hero of the United States of America, and the characteristics demonstrated by great Greek, Roman and Persian heroes of the various myths we have covered so far. Including the bravery of Achilles and Hector to fight a war they may not return from, the leadership of Aeneas to create a glorious new future for his people, and even the Persian hero Esfandyar, who in the end fought his battles to maintain the integrity of his beliefs. Ultimately Washington achieved eternal fame as a result of his accomplishments, like these mythical heroes did.
To explore these connections deeper, I’ll first refer to The Iliad and Achilles and Hector as a heroes. Achilles demonstrated the values of determination, great bravery, strength and skills to accomplish many achievements as a warrior in the 10 year span of the Trojan War. When he meets with Agamemnon’s messengers, Achilles even points out how he conquered several Trojan cities by land and sea, and contributed to Agamemnon’s treasures as a result of his achievements ...

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... the way that Washington did when he chose to be a leader in the Revolutionary War and serve as the first President of the United States.
The Greeks, Persians and Romans all believed that a form of immortality is fame, through demonstrating great deeds and accomplishing great feats. These cultures all agreed that everyone eventually met the same fate of death, so they believed it was better to achieve greatness and have your name live on throughout history. Achilles, for example, was motivated by achieving fame rather than living a long life. In my opinion, there is no better way to honor this level of fame than through art. Although there are many portraits, sculptures and statues of the great George Washington, I felt that Greenbough’s work really epitomized the relationship of Washington’s reputation and accomplishments to the heroes in the myths we have so far.

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