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The Last Moments of John Brown

Artist:
Thomas Hovenden (American (born Ireland), Dunmanway 1840–1895 Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania)
Date:
1882–84
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
77 3/8 x 66 1/4 in. (196.5 x 168.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Stoeckel, 1897
Accession Number:
97.5
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 762
In 1859 John Brown, the controversial abolitionist, led a raid on a federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), intending to arm enslaved African Americans. Brown had come to believe that the only way to end slavery in America was through bloodshed. Captured and convicted of treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia, Brown was sentenced to die by hanging. His hasty trial electrified the nation, and a sensational newspaper account reported how he paused on his way to the scaffold to kiss a baby. At the request of a patron two decades later, Hovenden, also an abolitionist, made it the subject of this sympathetic work.
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