About this artwork
Working in Paris, Henry Ossawa Tanner grounded his portrayal of a biblical scene in the thoughtful, individual expressions of the figures. The Two Disciples at the Tomb depicts an event from the Gospel of Saint John in which Peter and John arrive at Christ’s empty tomb. The bearded Peter looks downward with a somber gaze, but John appears transfixed, his face bathed in a golden light that signifies the presence of Christ’s spirit.
The son of a prominent minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Tanner was perhaps the most renowned American painter of religious works at the turn of the 20th century. After studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Tanner expatriated to France in 1891 in an effort to escape the trenchant racism that limited his career in the United States.
- Henry Ossawa Tanner
- The Two Disciples at the Tomb
- c. 1906
- Oil on canvas
- Signed, lower left: "H.O. Tanner"
- 129.5 × 105.7 cm (51 × 41 7/8 in.)
- Robert A. Waller Fund