George Washington gets a face lift

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The Maryland State House was closed to the public recently for an important occasion, the removal of one of the State’s most precious art pieces for a one-year restoration. The 1859 painting, “Washington Resigning His Commission,” by Edwin White, is “unquestionably one of the most important paintings ever commissioned by the state of Maryland,” said Alexander Lourie, Curator of the Maryland Commission on Artistic Property.

The painting depicts George Washington, Commander-In-Chief of the Continental Army, resigning his commission. This historic event took place in 1783 in the Old Senate Chamber in the Maryland State House.

The artwork, which has hung in the grand staircase since 1904, is so large that it had to be removed through one of the building’s large first floor windows. It could not fit through any of the doors.

A crew of professional art handlers performed a “highly choreographed operation,” according to Mr. Lourie. They carefully lowered the painting from the wall, separated it from its ornate gilded frame and packed it for transport.

The painting by White and the frame, which was made by Samson Cariss of Baltimore, will be restored over the next year and will return to the grand staircase where it has hung since 1904.