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John Brown

A work made of lithograph in black on cream wove paper.

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  • A work made of lithograph in black on cream wove paper.




John Steuart Curry
American, 1897-1946

About this artwork

Based on The Tragic Prelude, Curry’s mural for the rotunda of the Kansas State Capitol, this lithograph portrays the abolitionist martyr John Brown, best remembered for his failed attempt to incite a slave uprising by raiding a military arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in 1859. In Curry’s image Brown’s arms are outstretched, and he towers above a crouched African American to his left. Curry modeled Brown’s head on Michelangelo Buonarotti’s sculpture of Moses, linking Brown’s abolitionist zeal to religious fervor. In the distance, a tornado and wildfires foreshadow the American Civil War.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


John Steuart Curry


John Brown


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Lithograph in black on cream wove paper


Plate: 37.9 × 27.6 cm (14 15/16 × 10 7/8 in.); Sheet: 46.7 × 33.7 cm (18 7/16 × 13 5/16 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Bryan S. Reid, Jr.

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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