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Slavery Art

April 23, 2012

In America, there is one historical practice that is never going to be forgotten. That practice is the slavery which was the importation of black people from Africa to the plantation of America. This horrible human exploitation has marked the history of the world for ever. Reason why there was a huge need to capture the awful scene of slave exploitation or slave sales so that the whole world and the future generations will know what had happened to those innocent people who had been taken away from their native continent and brought to the new continent of America. A wonderful work has been done by Eyre Crowe who was a Victorian painter of historical and genre work of art.

Eyre Crowe was a European artist who spent a period of six month in America in 1852-1853. He accompanied William Makepeace Thackeray on his lecture tour in different places in US like Boston, New York, and Philadelphia where the slave sales were common at that time and where inhuman slave treatments were going on. He experienced horrible scenes that made his paintings and sketches based on his journey. His work is available on his website where his biography, paintings, and bibliography are available.

The work of Eyre Crowe is a high value work that captured multiple scenes of slave sales and slaves treatment. To my point of view, what makes his work outstanding is the fact that it narrates the slavery era to the new generation and the future generations. Most of his paintings represent a call for greater public condemnation of slavery by the British. His paintings reflect slave sales, after slave sales scenes, and the exhibition of slaves waiting for sale. The paintings bellow show a slave sale in Charleston, South Carolina (1854) and an after sale scene (1853) when slaves were “marched under escort of their new owners across the town to the railway station where they took places and went south”.



The most important and significant aspect about his work of art is the fact that it is a narrative painting that that tells the whole world the history of slavery in America. At the same time it represented a wakeup call at that time for the slavery abolishment. Emotionally, his work reflects sadness, pain, and the savagery of the people who were practicing that trade, but artistically it is a stupendous work of art.

The work of Eyre Crowe reflected some political aspect of America also as he made use of his experience to help illustrate the growing crisis of the US civil war in 1861 as one of his  sketch shows an image published by the illustrated London news (1861-1862) showing the secession movement in an entrance hall to an hotel at Charleston. this sketch can be found on his website . Bellow, are some other paintings that can be found on his website also:



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