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Artistic Light and Capturing the Immeasurable

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His father was Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a denomination formed to protest not dogma but dehumanization and barriers to spiritual expression. “I have no doubt an inheritance of religious feeling,” the artist wrote... His middle name was derived from Osawatomie, the town in Kansas where abolitionist John Brown started his antislavery campaign... As often the case with budding artists, the pressure was on Tanner to become successful in a conventional line of work... He was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor... While neither countless awards in France and the United States nor international acclaim could advance his financial situation, the spiritual quality and artistic restraint that came to characterize his work inspired a succeeding generation of artists, among them American favorites Hale Woodruff, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden... The Banjo Lesson, one of the most famous paintings of the period, was inspired by “Uncle Tim’s Compromise on Christmas,” a short story illustrated by Tanner for Harper’s Young People from a photograph he had staged. “The only thing in the world that the old man held as a personal possession was his old banjo,” read the story, so his gift to the child had to be shared... But “It was the one thing the little boy counted on as a precious future property, and often, at all hours of the day or evening, old Tim could be seen sitting before the cabin, his arms around the boy….And sometimes, holding the banjo steady, he would invite little Tim to try his tiny hands at picking the strings”... Faithful to the story, a “long panel of light” bares the cabin’s “smoke-stained wall. ” The artist’s masterful technique is rivaled only by the dignity of the scene: gently handing down a prized possession, a music lesson, a life lesson... In genre as in biblical scenes, Tanner manipulated light to create emotion and drama... In The Banjo Lesson he lights up the interior of a run-down dwelling to reveal what might otherwise be missed: the poor, glowing with humanity and knowledge... These qualities, so clearly expressed in art, can also be seen in the light of science... But because they defy mathematical measurement, they become invisible in cost-effectiveness and other studies, eluding economic analysis and adequate attention.

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Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937). The Banjo Lesson (1893). Oil on canvas (124.46 cm × 90.17 cm). Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia, USA
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Fa: Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937). The Banjo Lesson (1893). Oil on canvas (124.46 cm × 90.17 cm). Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia, USA


Artistic Light and Capturing the Immeasurable
Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937). The Banjo Lesson (1893). Oil on canvas (124.46 cm × 90.17 cm). Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia, USA
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2600184&req=5

Fa: Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937). The Banjo Lesson (1893). Oil on canvas (124.46 cm × 90.17 cm). Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia, USA

View Article: PubMed Central

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

His father was Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a denomination formed to protest not dogma but dehumanization and barriers to spiritual expression. “I have no doubt an inheritance of religious feeling,” the artist wrote... His middle name was derived from Osawatomie, the town in Kansas where abolitionist John Brown started his antislavery campaign... As often the case with budding artists, the pressure was on Tanner to become successful in a conventional line of work... He was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor... While neither countless awards in France and the United States nor international acclaim could advance his financial situation, the spiritual quality and artistic restraint that came to characterize his work inspired a succeeding generation of artists, among them American favorites Hale Woodruff, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden... The Banjo Lesson, one of the most famous paintings of the period, was inspired by “Uncle Tim’s Compromise on Christmas,” a short story illustrated by Tanner for Harper’s Young People from a photograph he had staged. “The only thing in the world that the old man held as a personal possession was his old banjo,” read the story, so his gift to the child had to be shared... But “It was the one thing the little boy counted on as a precious future property, and often, at all hours of the day or evening, old Tim could be seen sitting before the cabin, his arms around the boy….And sometimes, holding the banjo steady, he would invite little Tim to try his tiny hands at picking the strings”... Faithful to the story, a “long panel of light” bares the cabin’s “smoke-stained wall. ” The artist’s masterful technique is rivaled only by the dignity of the scene: gently handing down a prized possession, a music lesson, a life lesson... In genre as in biblical scenes, Tanner manipulated light to create emotion and drama... In The Banjo Lesson he lights up the interior of a run-down dwelling to reveal what might otherwise be missed: the poor, glowing with humanity and knowledge... These qualities, so clearly expressed in art, can also be seen in the light of science... But because they defy mathematical measurement, they become invisible in cost-effectiveness and other studies, eluding economic analysis and adequate attention.

No MeSH data available.