Recently a photo of a young, shirtless, hot Abraham Lincoln began making the rounds on Twitter, originally posted by screenwriter Zack Wentz. The statue is not new; “Young Lincoln” has been sitting out front of the Los Angeles Courthouse for quite some time. But nonetheless, his new online popularity caused me to really ponder something I hadn’t thought about since Daniel Day Lewis gave his Oscar-winning performance: Was Abe Lincoln hot?
This depiction of Lincoln certainly qualifies him as a babe. He’s got tousled hair and a decently defined arms-shoulders-chest situation. He’s got big hands and is carrying a hardbound book. If I spotted him at Central Park, I’d probably gaze at him and wonder if he had an Instagram account.
I wanted to know everything there was to know about Abe. As such, I exchanged literally 23 emails with a nice man from the Government Services Administration in a quest for more information. Did the government have evidence that the 16th President was built like a young Channing Tatum?
The GSA rep was very pleasant and as helpful as seemed possible, yet oddly evasive, eventually sending me a link to a government website dedicated to their collection of fine arts. According to it, “Young Lincoln” is an 8-foot-tall, 70-year-old piece of art. (This would be a great Tinder bio!) But, I as kept investigating, I was confronted with startling information.
The marble hunk was a bit of a catfish. The shapely form we see is not Lincoln’s, and to my dismay, there aren’t any secret nude drawings of Lincoln that a sculptor based his creation on. Rather, that toned physique was based off of the sculptor’s own body.
According to government records, the Young Lincoln statue was actually made in the image of James Lee Hansen. The sculptor was only 23 when he won an art contest run by the government, and was commissioned to create the piece — which was to go in front of the Los Angeles Courthouse — in 1939.
So does this mean that Abe is hot? Or should we all be looking to see if James Lee Hansen has grandchildren? Should I stop lusting after large pieces of public art? These questions don’t have easy answers, but certainly do merit further rumination.