Forensic Reconstruction of George Washington

 

View a 3D Model of George Washington
Hiram Powers, George Washington (Detail), 1849
Courtesy of ASU Art Museum

 

Project PI: Dr. Anshuman Razdan

 

For more than two years, the project to approach the reconstruction of George Washington at various times in his life from a forensic perspective has been discussed between Mt Vernon, Jeff Schwartz (U Pittsburgh) and Razdan, Tocheri, Collins et al at PRISM(ASU). The project award was made today by Mt Vernon to the joint team. The expected date of finish is July 2005, part of the celebration of 250th anniversary of the war that Washington served as a young officer.

George Washington
Screenshot of 3D model from a laser scan of the sculpture,
Hiram Powers, George Washington (Detail), 1849
Courtesy of ASU Art Museum

With the realization that this reconstruction would have to take place from secondary and tertiary sources of images – from three-dimensional objects, such as a life mask, a statue, and personal belongings, as well as from two-dimensional portraits – a project was conceived using digitally based protocol that would require not only scanning objects and manipulating them together, but as a way of testing hypotheses of Washington’s appearance during the process of reconstructing him first at his age at the time of the life mask, and then when he was an officer in the British army. Three-dimensional objects to be scanned, and their locations, include a plaster life mask (New York City), a marble statue (Richmond, VA), and various personal items, such as spectacles, dentures, perhaps a hat and shoe, and other clothing (Mount Vernon-Washington DC-Baltimore area), as well as a bust that Lafayette is said to have identified as being a true likeness of Washington (Boston).

The finished 3D digital images will be used to create life size statues of Washington as a 19, 45 and 57 year old. The end result of the collaboration between Schwartz and Razdan et al. will be the first forensic project of this kind, especially the “de-aging” of an individual, which will serve as the standard against which future similar projects will be judged.