Abraham Lincoln, 1860

Leonard Volk
Plaster life mask, 1917 cast after 1860 original

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

<< Return

“Yes. This is he.”


The noted midcentury sculptor Leonard Volk took this life mask of Lincoln before he started his run for the presidency. Volk wanted to make a bust of Lincoln to add to his collection of American statesmen, but he realized that Lincoln did not have time to sit. Hence he created this life mask, which shows the future president without a beard, and a face whose smoothness contrasts decidedly with the Clark Mills’s lined and furrowed mask of 1865.


Poet Richard Watson Gilder wrote after Lincoln’s assassination, “The mask doeth keep the very form and mold/Of our great martyr’s face. Yes. This is he.”

<< Return