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Abraham Lincoln’s iconic image has inspired professional and amateur artists alike to paint, draw and sculpt for well over a hundred years. His face is at once sad and bemused, craggy and animated.

Likewise, musicians have taken their cue from Lincoln to compose countless ballads, dirges and symphonies in his name.

During the Civil War music – often citing President Lincoln – was written to rally the nation. After the President’s assassination, a nation in mourning used lyrics and prose to ease their grief.

Lincoln, himself, was a patron of the arts. His love for poetry and the theater, especially Shakespeare, is well known. And in the new technology of photography he recognized an important, far-reaching tool to further his political ambitions. Those first photos of Lincoln helped to form an image of the candidate and later etched this image in the public consciousness.

President Lincoln and his legacy is shaped by the use of the arts. Those artistic creations and their evocative imagery will forever place Abraham Lincoln in the hearts and souls of the American people.

Song by James D. Gay, 1864.
Credit: Library of Congress