Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Prose Works. 1892.
I. Specimen Days
86. No Good Portrait of Lincoln
PROBABLY the reader has seen physiognomies (often old farmers, sea-captains, and such) that, ;behind their homeliness, or even ugliness, held superior points so subtle, yet so palpable, making the real life of their faces almost as impossible to depict as a wild perfume or fruit-taste, or a passionate tone of the living voice—and such was Lincoln’s face, the peculiar color, the lines of it, the eyes, mouth, expression. Of technical beauty it had nothing—but to the eye of a great artist it furnished a rare study, a feast and fascination. The current portraits are all failures—most of them caricatures.