Christmas-Time, The Blodgett Family
Eastman Johnson American
This conversation piece—a group portrait with narrative elements—was the first commissioned work of a type that Johnson would often paint. It shows William Tilden Blodgett (1823–1875), a supporter of the Union cause and a founding trustee of the Metropolitan Museum, with his family in the Renaissance Revival parlor of their house at 27 West 25th Street. Depicted during the Civil War, at a time of urban upheaval, the serene interior decorated for Christmas, embodies "the best sentiment of home," as a critic observed in 1865. Only the toy of a caricatured black male dancer held by the young boy hints at pressing issues of racial strife and emancipation.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.