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Lincoln Life Mask Set, Cast by Vittore Bocchetta

A Matching Pair of Lincoln Life Masks


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Volk, Leonard W.  (1828-1895)  “Lincoln Life Mask”  in full bronze, taken from an original casting;  mounted on a marble base.  Mask 8 1/2”;  overall 13 1/2”.  Originally produced in Volk’s Chicago studio on 31 March 1860: There is “the animal him-self,” said Lincoln.  The mask provided a model for many later Lincoln statues by other sculptors, as well as some by Volk himself.  A remarkably detailed mask, taken from an original, showing Lincoln as he was.

Mills, Clark (1810-1883)  “Lincoln Life Mask” in full bronze, taken from an original casting; mounted on a marble base.    On February 11, 1865, about two months before his death, Abraham Lincoln permitted sculptor Clark Mills to make this life mask of his face. This was the second and last life mask made of Lincoln. The strain of the presidency was written on Abraham Lincoln’s face. His secretary, John Hay, remarked on the dramatic difference in Lincoln’s two life masks. He noted that the first mask, produced by Leonard Volk in 1860, “is a man of fifty-one, and young for his years…. It is a face full of life, of energy, of vivid aspiration…..The other is so sad and peaceful in its infinite repose…. a look as of one on whom sorrow and care had done their worst without victory is on all the features.”


[BOCCHETTA, Vittore “Victor” (1918 – 2021]

Bronze Life-Masks of Lincoln made in the 1970’s by an Italian sculptor, the late Victor Bochetta, in his own Chicago foundry using the “lost wax method” of hot bronze casting used during Lincoln’s era. The originals used for these copies are in the Chicago History Museum.  Bochetta’s work is also represented on the USS Abraham Lincoln, by a large bronze bust of Lincoln by George Bissell – again from an original casting in the CHM.