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American Slavery and Russian Serfdom in the Post-Emancipation Imagination$
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Amanda Brickell Bellows

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469655543

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655543.001.0001

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Oil Paintings

Oil Paintings

(p.108) Chapter Four Oil Paintings
American Slavery and Russian Serfdom in the Post-Emancipation Imagination

Amanda Brickell Bellows

University of North Carolina Press

After the abolition of serfdom and slavery, Russian and American artists created oil paintings of peasants and African Americans that revealed to viewers the complexity of their post-emancipation experiences. Russian painters from the Society of Traveling Art Exhibitions and American artists including Henry Ossawa Tanner, William Edouard Scott, and Winslow Homer created thematically similar works that depicted bondage, emancipation, military service, public schooling, and the urban environment. Their compositions shaped nineteenth-century viewers’ conceptions of freedpeople and peasants and molded Russians’ and Americans’ sense of national identity as the two countries reconstructed their societies during an era of substantial political and social reform.

Keywords:   oil paintings, freedpeople, peasants, serfdom, slavery, Society of Traveling Art Exhibitions, Henry Ossawa Tanner, William Edouard Scott, Winslow Homer, national identity

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