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21st May 2010

Andrew Jackson – Ten Commandments Portrait

This new Essence Portrait of Andrew Jackson was challenging to create as he was such a complex man, who embodied many dichotomies in his beliefs and politics, although he was not two faced. Like many of us, Andrew Jackson was fragmented but sought to do what seemed right to him.

Andrew Jackson is the third most visually reorganized historical president, after Washington and Lincoln, by the average American in the 21 st Century.

Such widespread recognition for Jackson is new as Jefferson or Teddy Roosevelt were more likely to be recognized previously by the generations born after their terms.

The change is due to ATMs that spurt $20.00 bills with Jackson ‘s portrait.

Ironically, in his time Jackson opposed and defeated the central bank, which led to the banking system that we now have.

Many of the problems and issues Jackson faced as a president are echoed in our own time. Plus, he is one of the founders of the Democratic Party, and his meant-to-be derogatory nickname “Jackass”, which he liked and embraced, became the symbol for the party itself.

I see Jackson as a bit fragmented, like a cracked mirror, and my portrait of him reflects that imagery. Jackson was not an elitist, but like Lincoln later did, arose from humble beginnings and trails. He worked to protect and widen popular democracy and the rights of white men, yet was a slave owner and also supported Indian removal. Yet he had a legally adopted son, a Creek Indian orphan.

In my portrait below Jackson’s hair is coiffed and combed yet at the ends there is a wildness of some unkempt strays. This symbolizes the dichotomy of Jackson, who was proper and righteous, but had a temper that made him also a scrappy fighter.

Exodus 20 (Andrew Jackson) by Judy Rey Wasserman

In the portrait notice that Jackson ‘s lower lip – the one that will tremble and give in to resolve, is clear and firm, as is the top lip opposing it in black. Divided but resolute. This refers to his other nickname “Old Hickory”, so called because once he resolved to something he was unmoving.

All of my portraits of the Presidents of the USA are created using the original letters Bible text of Exodus 20, which is the Ten Commandments. Presidents are the governmental executives whose job it is to uphold the law. The ten Commandments are the basic laws of the Bible, and credited with inspiring the framers of the Constitution in man ways, and most especially in that they are the same for all.

I urge you to read the information about Andrew Jackson at Wikipedia . He was truly a fascinating, inspiring and complex man.

For more about the new, 21st Century Post Conceptual Essence Portraits (including color images) see the video below and check out Portrait Painting Commissions


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