Wax Figures Show ''Real'' George Washington





In a former box factory on an old Brooklyn street named for him, half a mile from where his defeated army escaped by night to fight another day, George Washington has all but come back to life.

Not just one George Washington, but three -- the 19-year-old wilderness surveyor, the 45-year-old Revolutionary War general and the 57-year-old president on his inauguration day in 1789.

The trio of life-size wax figures, created by British-born artists Stuart Williamson and Sue Day, is destined for a new $95 million permanent exhibit at Washington's estate in Mount Vernon, Va. ''The Real George Washington'' will open to the public next October.

While a 1785 terra-cotta bust and plaster life mask by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon and several portraits by American painter Charles Wilson Peale are considered the most accurate likenesses, StudioEIS director Ivan Schwartz says his team of sculptors also meets Washington's own definition of artists as ''doorkeepers of the temple of fame.''

The idea of depicting the ''real'' Washington at three important moments in his life originated with James Rees, executive director at Mount Vernon, who says he realized Americans knew the mythological Washington who could not tell a lie and threw a dollar across the Rappahannock, but not the Washington chosen by his fellow founders to lead both the revolution and the new nation.




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