Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Dueling Politician with Dueling Legacies

Amidst the recent political debates we've been watching, we're reminded of a politician whose very contribution to American history remains under debate.  

The talented Daniel Baxter was recently commissioned by Marianne Nelson, the art director for Princeton Alumni Weekly, to create imagery for an article about Aaron Burr. Baxter decided to create a mirror-image portrait of Aaron Burr to convey his dueling legacies: as a treasonous lunatic and as a rational modernist. Daniel's creative thinking developed through several sketches, which we are happy to share with you below!

For the American history lovers out there: Aaron Burr was vice president to Thomas Jefferson between 1801 and 1805. He lives in infamy for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel--an event that several artists have riffed on in recent years. He was also put on trial for conspiring to invade and take over Mexico. But Burr had redemptive qualities as well: he was a feminist, a rationalist, and a supporter of manumission (the act of a slave owner freeing his slaves); he also perfected many campaign techniques which are utilized in modern politics. So, as our artist Daniel Baxter illustrates, should we really continue to demonize this complicated man?
CLICK HERE for Daniel Baxter's portfolio.
Final layout for "American Lucifer" article

Sketch #1: Mirror images of Aaron Burr, portrayed as devil and angel

Sketch #2" Straight-on portrait of Burr with relevant elements of his story

Sketch #3: Overlapping contradictory portraits of Burr

Sketch #4: Burr looking in a mirror as devil, reflecting as angel
CLICK HERE for Daniel Baxter's portfolio.

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