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Winter Art Show

May 2024
1min read

Daniel Webster maintains what frail hold he still has on the popular imagination through Stephen Vincent Benèt’s superb short story that locks him in oratorical combat with the Devil. Butin his day he was a true folk hero, his fierce dark eyes, barrel chest, and rock of a jaw backed up by a rhetorical brilliance unmatched by anyone else alive. This Webster is very evident in the fine likeness opposite, by Francis Alexander, who was Boston’s most popular portraitist when Webster sat for him in 1835. Later “Black Dan” would infuriate much of his New England constituency by backing the fugitive-slave law; but Alexander’s powerful portrait shows one of the most popular men in America.

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