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Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Artist
Alexander Gardner, 17 Oct 1821 - 10 Dec 1882
Sitter
Abraham Lincoln, 12 Feb 1809 - 15 Apr 1865
Date
1865
Type
Photograph
Medium
Albumen silver print
Dimensions
Image: 45 x 38.6cm (17 11/16 x 15 3/16")
Mat: 61.9 x 50.2cm (24 3/8 x 19 3/4")
Frame: 74.9 x 63.8 x 7cm (29 1/2 x 25 1/8 x 2 3/4")
Topic
Abraham Lincoln: Male
Abraham Lincoln: Law and Law Enforcement\Lawyer
Abraham Lincoln: Military\Soldier
Abraham Lincoln: Politics and Government\President of US
Abraham Lincoln: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Environmentalist
Abraham Lincoln: Business and Finance\Businessperson\Merchant
Abraham Lincoln: Politics and Government\US Congressman\Illinois
Abraham Lincoln: Politics and Government\Government Official\Surveyor
Abraham Lincoln: Politics and Government\State Senator\Illinois
Abraham Lincoln: Politics and Government\Government Official\Postmaster
Abraham Lincoln: Crafts and Trades\Boat builder
Portrait
Place
United States\District of Columbia\Washington
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
NPG.81.M1
Exhibition Label
Born Hardin County, Kentucky
In February of 1865, just two months before Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Alexander Gardner created this “cracked-plate” portrait, now considered one of the most important and evocative photographs in American history. Aside from the detail in the center of Lincoln’s face, much of the picture appears diffused or out of focus. Deep, dark grooves in Lincoln’s skin may evoke his weariness at the end of the Civil War, but he also exhibits a slight smile—perhaps a sign of relief as the restoration of the Union draws near. Lincoln had looked forward to continuing his presidency but was assassinated only weeks after beginning his second term. At some point, possibly when the glass-plate negative was heated to receive a coat of varnish, a crack appeared in the upper half of Gardner’s plate. He made a single print and then discarded the damaged plate, so only one such portrait exists.
Nacido en el condado de Hardin, Kentucky
En febrero de 1865, tan solo dos meses antes del asesinato de Abraham Lincoln, Alexander Gardner hizo este retrato “de la placa quebrada”, que hoy se considera una de las fotografías más importantes y evocadoras de la historia estadounidense. Exceptuando los detalles centrales del rostro de Lincoln, que aparecen con gran nitidez, Buena parte de la imagen aparece difusa o desenfocada. Los surcos profundos y oscuros en la piel de Lincoln parecen evocar su fatiga al final de la Guerra Civil, pero al mismo tiempo la leve sonrisa es quizás un signo de alivio porque ya estaba cerca la restauración de la Unión. Lincoln tenía grandes esperanzas para la continuación de su administración pero fue asesinado apenas unas semanas después de comenzar su segundo término. En algún momento, posiblemente al calendar el negativo de vidrio para aplicarle una capa de barniz, apareció una grieta en la parte superior de la placa. Gardner hizo una sola impresión y enseguida descartó la placa quebrada, así que solo existe un retrato de aquel negativo.
Collection Description
The Frederick Hill Meserve Collection comprises more than five thousand Civil War-era portrait negatives from the Mathew Brady photography studio in New York City. The collection, which the National Portrait Gallery acquired in 1981, includes portraits of generals, politicians, diplomats, painters, and performers. It also contains depictions of “Human Curiosities” at P. T. Barnum’s American Museum in New York City, that, although highly exploitative, help to document the historical representations of disability in the United States.
La Colección Frederick Hill Meserve contiene más de 5,000 negativos de retratos de la época de la Guerra Civil provenientes del estudio fotográfico de Mathew Brady en la ciudad de Nueva York. Adquirida por la National Portrait Gallery en 1981, la colección incluye retratos de militares, políticos, diplomáticos y artistas. También contiene imágenes de “curiosidades humanas” exhibidas en el American Museum de P.T. Barnum en Nueva York. Estas últimas, a pesar de su índole degradante, nos ayudan a documentar la representación histórica de las personas discapacitadas en EE.UU.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery