In early 2017, our fourth floor will be transformed into a new destination for historical education and innovation. During the current renovation, objects from our permanent collection are on view throughout the Museum.
Medicine Man (Blackfoot): Plate 173
Graphite and black ink on prepared card
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The vavarian born artist Thomas Nast's cartoons of the Tammany Tiger, Uncle Sam, and other iconic figures have become part of the popular imagination. An artist and engraver, Nast drew regularly on political subjects for the national periodical Harper's Weekly. His Santa Claus, which reflects German ideas about the old man, appeared first in 1863, and was gradually refined into the image we know today - the basis of the ubiquitous jolly figure used to market everything from soft drinks to lingerie.
This image of Santa distributing gifts to Union soldiers in the midst of the Civil War marks the initial appearance in print of a Nast Santa. The image was intended to evoke powerful feelings on the home front.
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