Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Go Down Death

Aaron Douglas
Go Down Death, 1934
Oil on masonite
48" x 36"

In the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, I took in this painting this morning. Part of the God's Trombones series, this work illustrates a funeral sermon from James Weldon Johnson's book (God's Trombones) and depicts an Angel of Death riding down to take Sister Caroline into the arms of Jesus.

Note the radiating star in the upper left. Death is sometimes depicted as a falling star. It could also be the North Star. It is also an obvious Communist symbol. Death frees the slave from bondage. The North Star representative of the Underground Railroad. So, too, would the Communist Party lead the Negro to freedom.

Source: The David C. Driskell Center

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