Alexander Hamilton: An Artist’s Muse

Carly Syms

VIP + Marketing Manager

Throughout his lifetime, Alexander Hamilton was a prolific writer, war hero, prominent lawyer, the founder of the New York Post, the founder of the Coast Guard, and the First Secretary of the Treasury. Up until recently, the many accomplishments of this Founding Father were often forgotten. In fact, the United States treasury department recently considered taking his face off the ten dollar bill.

Thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning Broadway show, Hamilton: An American Musical, Alexander is once again getting a moment in the spotlight. Miranda isn’t the only artist who drew inspiration from this complicated statesman. Here’s a look at some of the artwork immortalizing Alexander Hamilton alongside some lyrics from Miranda’s amazing show.

Alexander Hamilton statue

“Look around, look around at how

Lucky we are to be alive right now!

History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be

in the greatest city in the world!”

— Lin-Manuel Miranda (Song: “The Schuyler Sisters”)

After immigrating from the West Indies, Alexander Hamilton established his new home in New York City. This Carl H. Conrads sculpture depicts Alexander Hamilton dressed in Colonial-era clothing. Today, it can be found along Central Park’s East Drive at 83rd Street.

Alexander Hamilton statue

“We need to handle our financial situation

Are we a nation of states?

What’s the state of our nation?”

— Lin-Manuel Miranda (Song: “My Shot”)

One of the ways Alexander Hamilton left his mark on the United States government was by serving as the first Secretary of the Treasury. Now, a James Earle Fraser bronze statue of Hamilton watches over the Treasury Building. This piece, dedicated in 1922, currently stands on the south side of the building on Alexander Hamilton Place, NW in Washington D.C.

Alexander Hamilton Bust

“I practiced the law, I practic’ly perfected it

I’ve seen injustice in the world and I’ve corrected it

Now for a strong central democracy

If not, then I’ll be Socrates

Throwing verbal rocks at these mediocrities”

— Lin-Manuel Miranda (Song: “Non-Stop”)

Alexander Hamilton worked hard to forge a career as both a prominent New York lawyer and to serve on President George Washington’s cabinet. Giuseppe Ceracchi captured the face of this dedicated attorney and politician with a marble bust in 1792. Ceracchi went on to create many replicas of the bust throughout his career. Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, Alexander’s devoted wife, kept one the busts in her home for decades as a way to remember her husband after his passing in 1804.

Alexander Hamilton portrait

“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known

When I was young and dreamed of glory

You have no control:

Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

— Lin-Manuel Miranda (Song: “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”)

John Trumbull first painted Alexander Hamilton in 1792. After Hamilton’s fatal duel with Vice President Aaron Burr, there was a considerable demand for his portraits.Trumbull proceeded to create a series of Alexander Hamilton paintings. He modeled this 1806 piece after Giuseppe Ceracchi’s marble bust.


“Legacy. What is a legacy?

It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see

I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me

America, you great unfinished symphony, you sent for me”

— Lin-Manuel Miranda  (Song: “The World Was Wide Enough”)

One of Alexander Hamilton’s lasting legacies as a Founding Father was in designing the initial structure of the United States Department of the Treasury. In the late 1800’s, several decades after Hamilton’s death, Caroline L. Ormes Ransom was commissioned by the department to create a new portrait of him. For this project, she made it her mission to copy a classic John Trumbull painting.


For more on Alexander Hamilton, there are two special exhibits currently happening in New York City.

The New York Public Library is hosting an exhibit called “Alexander Hamilton: Striver, Statesman, Scoundrel.” This display will be on view until December 31, 2016.

The New York Historical Society has organized the “Summer of Hamilton” celebration. There will be events related to this program taking place throughout the month of August 2016.

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