[April 29, 2014]
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This painting hangs in the ground-floor
gallery of the new museum. At the old museum it held a prominent
spot on the east wall. In the new museum it is equally dominant in
the room, catching the eye quickly.
The piece was done by artist
Sacha Newley and donated to the Lincoln Heritage Museum in 2008.
Entitled "The Head of Lincoln," it depicts Abraham Lincoln and
includes the words of the Gettysburg Address as a backdrop.
Art is created for a variety
of reasons, among them to please the eye or to evoke an emotion. This
painting catches the eye and draws the viewer into it through its
use of light, dark and texture. For some, the emotion it evokes,
though, is not as much pleasure as it is sadness.
This is more than fitting, as throughout Lincoln's life he was
plagued with sadness and pain. Born in Kentucky, he
lived a meager life and lacked many of the creature comforts even of that
day. He suffered the loss of his mother and was sorrowed deeply by
this. He longed for education, but was denied that as he was made to
work and help with the financial support of his family. He was not
particularly successful in the romance department of his life until
he met Mary Todd. He suffered deeply over the inhumanities of the
era and grieved for those bound in slavery.
As a president, he reached the
highest pinnacle of his political career, but the joy that should
have been there was swiftly dashed away by war. He labored over
every decision and suffered greatly when knowing those decisions would
lead to mothers burying their young sons before they had a chance to
really live their lives.
On the main floor of
the new museum, visitors can walk through the life of Abraham Lincoln,
seeing what he saw as a young man. The displays draw attention
to his life and relationships in Logan County, his efforts as a
young politician, a son, husband, father and finally the father of
Pictures by Nila Smith and Jan Youngquist