Several years ago I was commissioned to create a painting of Pierre L’Enfant, the person who created the city plan for Washington DC. There is no known portrait of L’Enfant other than a silhouette of him created while he was alive. Many older publications have used portraits identified as L’Enfant that were not actually his likeness and when the Washingtonian magazine decided to do a profile on him they wanted to create a realistic likeness of what he may have looked like.
I worked with the District of Columbia Historical society to find all of the information I could about him and went about creating this likeness. I found a very good pastel portrait of L’Enfant’s father and was able to use that as a reference along with the authentic silhouette image. For my initial drawings I used the silhouette and projected the facial lines to get his basic proportions. I then photographed a model with features similar to L’Enfant’s to provide a reference for details. The costume is accurate based on my research and the medal is one that he would have worn had he posed for a portrait at that time.