John Brown Going to His Hanging
by Horace Pippin, 1942
(Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, used with permission)
Pippin was a black artist who revered John Brown as much as he did Abraham Lincoln. He is described as a
primitive painter, but here the subtle colors and rigid verticality of elements are far from amateurish. The effect is to
convey the quiet solemnity of the moment. In actuality, no spectators were present, but the scene seems somehow very real.
One can imagine the sound of horses' hooves and wagon wheels. We are led by the artist to consider the significance of