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Self Defense

American Art

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Self Defense

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

George Henry Yewell
American, 1830–1923

Date

1854

Medium

Oil on canvas

Accession #

2013.3

Dimensions

21 1/2 x 17 1/4 inches

Location

On View - Stent Family Wing, Level 3, Gallery 307

Description

In Self Defense, a boy prepares a snowball, likely in response to one just launched at him. Yet the painting is not just of child’s play. In the background are advertisements for a notorious lottery scheme, a lowbrow musical rabble rouser, and an announcement for a performance of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the first staging of the play based on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s controversial book. As the boy defends himself against a faceless aggressor, Yewell hints that his viewers must brace themselves in an age of predatory schemers and rising political tension.

Credit

Purchase through funds provided by patrons of Collectors Evening 2013