214 – Lincoln for the Defense
Story illustration for Saturday Evening Post (February 10, 1962)
Oil on canvas
[NORMAN ROCKWELL CHARACTER] This is one of my favorite presidents, Abraham Lincoln, before he became president, and before he grew his beard. This picture tells the story of the first big case Lincoln tried when he was a young lawyer.
The man sitting behind Lincoln is wearing handcuffs. He was accused of murder. It was hopeless. Eyewitnesses said they saw him by the clear light of a full moon. Look at the little book Lincoln’s holding in his left hand. It’s the Almanac — the book that tracks the phases of the moon. Lincoln proved that the moon was only in its first quarter and about to set. it would have been too dark to see clearly. The man went free.
[NORMAN ROCKWELL CHARACTER] Now that you know the story — look at how I decided to tell it. Lincoln stands in front of the man, like he’s protecting him. He’s dressed all in white, and he almost glows. He looks extra tall. That’s ‘cause we’re looking at him from below.
Even though he’s so big, you’re not afraid of him. He’s taken off his jacket and his suspenders. His hair’s a little messed up. His tie is coming undone. He is “Abraham Lincoln” –but he’s also a regular guy. I liked that about him.