The last moments of John Brown



"On leaving the Jail, John Brown had on his face an expression of calmness and serenity characteristic of the patriot who is about to die with a living consciousness that he is laying his life down for the good of his fellow creatures. As he stepped out of door a black woman, with her little child in her arms, stood near his way. The twain were of the despised race for whose emancipation and elevation to the dignity of children of God he was about to lay down his life. He stopped for a moment in his course, stooped over, and with the tenderness of one whose love is as broad as the brotherhood of man, kissed [the child] affectionately." - an article in the New York Tribune, from December 5, 1859The artist Thomas Hovendon completed this commissioned oil painting sometime between 1882 to 1884, and it now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He is believed to have referenced the above article when painting the piece, though historians disagree about whether it even took place as depicted - some believe it was a provocative piece meant to stoke the fires of the abolitionist movement.John Brown (1800-1859) was a militant abolitionist who believed the previous methods of peaceful protest were ineffectual. His efforts culminated in a failed raid against a federal armory in 1859, which led to his capture and eventual execution by hanging.

Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

Includes a border on all sides to allow for matting and framing.