The Power of Music

The Power of Music

1847

William Sidney Mount

(American, 1807-1868)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 67 x 78 x 7.5 cm (26 3/8 x 30 11/16 x 2 15/16 in.); Unframed: 43.4 x 53.5 cm (17 1/16 x 21 1/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1991.110

Description

Set in rural Long Island before the Civil War, Mount's complex painting presents an African American laborer listening intently to a fiddle tune enjoyed by white men. While a love of music unites the figures in a bond of shared humanity, the two races occupy different spaces--one inside, one outside, both separated by a barn door--effectively symbolizing the pronounced divisions in America at the time.

See also
Collection: 
American - Painting
Type of artwork: 
Painting
Medium: 
Oil on canvas

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