Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Statuesque Mr. Lincoln

As soon as you pass through the turnstile at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, there's an immediate photo-op, clearly designed to be such.

The group includes the president, of course, but also Mary Todd Lincoln and their three living sons at the time they moved into the White House. Though derided as "rubber" Lincolns, they're actually sculpted foam coated with fiberglass, and then painted, clothed and fitted with a mix of real and synthetic hair. They're definitely not animatronic, which was a relief, because they and the other rubber Lincolns are linchpins of the museum.

Across the street from the museum is Union Square Park, which features a bronze presidential Lincoln on a bench, by Mark Lundeen. He appears to be looking at some notes, including one that says, "With malice toward none."

Somewhere in Chicago there's supposed to be another copy of this statue, but I haven't seen it. Colorado-based Lundeen, according to the Springfield Journal-Register, "is perhaps most known for his statue of the mythical Mighty Casey baseball slugger, which stands at several major league ballparks."

Not far away in Union Square Park is a standing Lincoln called "A Greater Task," by John McClary of Decatur, Illinois. I would have called it "Lincoln Caught in the Rain, But Still Going on With His Speech." Persistence, that was Lincoln's middle name.

It isn't McClary's only Lincoln. In fact, he's a Lincoln specialist among sculptors. According to his web site, his most recent work is "a life-sized sculpture of Lincoln in bronze... created on commission by the University of Illinois Library and the Gerda B. Morteson Center for International Library Programs, and now [residing] in the Russian State Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow." (The Red Lincoln?)

At the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site, there are statues a-plenty of Lincoln, especially ones by Daniel Chester French and Gutzon Borglum, both of whom carved somewhat more iconic Lincolns in other parts of the country. This is a Borglum Lincoln in front of the tomb's entrance. To me it looks like the president has a bad cold.

The nose is shiny from contact with a constant stream of hands. It's placed so high that children can't reach it, though they try: I caught a group of kids in this pic trying to reach the nose. Ann had a different solution. She asked that I lift her up, and I did.

There are more Lincoln statues at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, which is about 20 miles from Springfield. My camera ran out of power, but not before I got a shot of the rail-splittin', book-readin' Young Abe Lincoln, who lived in New Salem for some years.

The site's web site says: "This statue, entitled 'The Resolute Lincoln,' was sculpted by well-known Lincoln sculptor Avard Fairbanks. The statue depicts Lincoln at a pivotal time in his development, where he resolves to put down the ax and pick up the book. It is meant to reflect the changes that Lincoln went through while at New Salem. The statue, a gift from the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, was dedicated in 1954."

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At 2:55 AM, Blogger scott davidson said...

Nice way to decorate your walls. I have never done that. My effort to beautify the walls in my house was to order big-sized canvas prints from wahooart.com, from images of western art. I use the same angel motifs in all of the rooms painted by different painters, such as this one by very interesting English artist Stanley Spencer, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT7K6

At 10:12 AM, Blogger William Braylen said...

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