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Obscure Lincoln portrait now hanging in the National Portrait Gallery –
Today is the 16 President’s 214th birthday!

“A close-up of an 1865 portrait of Abraham Lincoln by W.F.K. Travers on display at the National Portrait Gallery.” Credit: Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery via The Washington Post.

‘Most lifelike’ Lincoln portrait on display after years in obscurity

From The Washington Post:

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled a rare portrait of President Abraham Lincoln on Friday, ahead of Lincoln’s 214th birthday. The nine-foot-tall portrait, painted by W.F.K. Travers in 1865, is one of only three known full-length renderings of the 16th president and will be on loan to the Smithsonian gallery in downtown D.C. for the next five years.

The painting, which hung for decades in relative obscurity in a municipal building in a small New Jersey town, has been newly restored and is now part of the “America’s Presidents” gallery.

There are plenty of photographs of Lincoln, but, like most subjects of the day, he sits stiffly and somberly, and of course, is rendered in black and white. This portrait — painted in color, face relaxed with a hint of a smile, and body standing at its full 6-foot-4 height — offers viewers perhaps the best opportunity today to see Lincoln as he really was.

At least, that’s what his friends thought. Ward H. Lamon, a close friend and bodyguard, wrote in 1888 that the painting was “the most lifelike picture of Mr. Lincoln I have ever seen on canvas.”

It “presents a real likeness of the man, with his rugged features and irregularities of personal appearance, true to life,” he wrote. Even if Lincoln’s face were covered, friends would recognize him immediately just by “the trunk and limbs.”

Posted by Steve on February 12, 2023 at 12:01 am | Permalink

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