A new photographic exhibit marking the 200th anniversary of the 16th president's birth masks as much as it reveals

Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ... Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits

It's a safe bet that Abraham Lincoln is the most recognizable American of all time. Every child in this country can name him by first grade, and so can countless millions who will never set foot in the United States. His face adorns the indivisible penny (which is the best argument for retaining that beleaguered coin). He's more American than George Washington, at least when it comes to his image.

A big part of the reason is photography. Lincoln was the first president whose entire political career transpired in the era when light could be magically captured and held forever.

Next year marks the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. Across the country there will be countless exhibits about him. Every museum with Lincolniana, however trivial, will put it on view. It may turn out, though, that the best is the first -- a spectacular, one-room show at the National Portrait Gallery called "The Mask of Lincoln."

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