By Alison Mitchell
Since the first stages of planning a year ago the bronze statue of President Lincoln and his horse has been highly anticipated and was installed yesterday morning. It began around 8am and the weather was perfect for an easy (and dry) installation. The 2,500 pound sculpture was lowered onto the excavated site as the President Lincoln’s Cottage staff, sculptor Ivan Schwartz of StudioEIS, and members of the press watched.
The statue conveys Lincoln either returning from or about to embark on his commute to the White House. Months of research went into the historical accuracy and visual aesthetics of this portrayal of Lincoln and his horse. Visitors will see the weight of the war on his shoulders, but will also get a sense of calm and solace in his expression as he was able to relax at his Soldiers’ Home retreat.
In comparison to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in downtown D.C., this portrayal of President Lincoln is a much more intimate and personal one rather than a strong, serious figure elevated and looking down at the viewer. When the pathway and base of the statue are finished, visitors will be at eye level with Lincoln. The Cottage, for the most part, was a relatively isolated place where the president had a chance to reflect on the decisions that had to be made on emancipation and the war. With this statue, visitors will be able to feel that sense of place and intimacy that Lincoln felt while staying here.
The statue was made possible by the generosity of Robert H. Smith and designed and produced by StudioEIS of Brooklyn, NY. The formal dedication will be in February 2009.