John Steuart CurryU.S. 1897-1946
John Brown 79.0052
The image of John Brown is one that John Steuart Curry repeatedly produced in drawings, prints, and paintings. Eventually it became part of his mural cycle for the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, depicting the history of Kansas. This particular lithograph evokes biblical connotations; Brown, an abolitionist, represents Moses, and in fact is quite similar in appearance to Michelangelo's Renaissance sculpture, Moses. Brown believed he was sent to lead the slaves to freedom at the start of the Civil War. In addition, Brown's arms are outstretched in reference to Christ's crucifixion, for Brown vowed to dedicate his life to the abolition of slavery. John Brown incorporates themes frequently used by Curry--the struggle of man vs. man, and man vs. nature. The tornado on the horizon also refers to the disaster the Civil War was about to bring on the land.
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