The Image Breaker

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Based on an 1847 painting by the German-American artist Leutze, this work dramatizes religious differences that divided families during the English Civil War. A father has interrupted the Catholic devotions of his daughter and prepares to smash devotional objects on a small altar. The print was published by the American Art-Union, a New York institution that boasted nearly nineteen thousand subscribers at its height in 1849-50. For an annual fee of five dollars, each member received a large, finely engraved, print and was entered in a lottery to win original artworks which were exhibited at the Art-Union's Free Gallery. Aimed at educating the public about contemporary American art, the group's distribution network reached members in every state. This contributed to the creation of a national market for landscapes and genre paintings. The system flourished for a limited period, however, with no lottery taking place in 1851, the year that the Art-Union issued this work as part of a supplementary set of smaller engravings titled "Gallery of American Art," No. I.

The Image Breaker, Alfred Jones (American, Liverpool, England 1819–1900 New York), Etching, engraving and stipple on steel

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.