Circulars art

Year: 1840

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 25 x 30 in.

Accession Number: 2000.05

Purchased with funds provided by Martha Ellen Brumback and Frances Marie Brumback in honor of the OMA’s 75th Anniversary

The Young Artist

Thomas Mickell Burnham

Part of the American Art Collection

Burnham, young artist, 2000-5, ver 2

Thomas Mickell Burnham first exhibited this painting in 1840 at the Boston Athenaeum. Although the artist seems to simply be capturing a cheerful scene of children at play, Burnham intended the work to be read on several levels. Contemporary viewers at the Athenaeum would have seen the painting’s message of interracial harmony as progressive in tone. When this work was painted, Boston was the intellectual center of the abolitionist movement. Over the next two decades, Boston experienced numerous episodes of civil disobedience directed against such repressive federal laws as the Fugitive Slave Act. Burnham's The Young Artist optimistically depicted America's children, its future, putting aside issues of race to play together.

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