Essay Aaron Douglas' "Crucifixion"

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Aaron Douglas’ Crucifixion

Throughout much of Modernism many artists were influenced and informed by the work of exotic regions throughout the world, more specifically Africa. African Art would influence much of the Modern Movements from the latter part of the Nineteenth and the beginning of the Twentieth Centuries. Much is said of the artists within the Harlem Renaissance, and how it directly reflects the influence of Africana upon their art. Often times, this work is neglected to be considered Modern if not in specialized selections of course throughout many of today's higher institutions of learning. However, thus being said, Aaron Douglas, often considered the pioneer of African American Modern Art, would bring this notion to the
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If one is to take that same mentality and apply it to any number of artists within the Harlem Renaissance, especially Douglas, then their use of African imagery must of set them worlds apart at the time. Who better understands this art, then those whose heritage is deeply involved with such art? Aaron Douglas understood this, and was able to draw upon African ideals concerning art and incorporate them into this specific piece.

Additionally, the Jesus figure is overshadowed by a large darkened African man carrying the cross for Jesus: possibly marking the weight of the world on his shoulders and carrying the burden that one must go through society as African Americans. As Driskell said in Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America, “Jesus the savior is also Jesus the bearer of everyman’s burden, particularly the black man’s burden.” Of course, the large African American man carrying the cross represents that man. This may also represent the hardship of the black man at the beginning of the Twentieth century. As Kymberly Pinder suggests in her article, Our Father, God; our Brother, Christ; or are We Bastard Kin?: Images of Christ in African American Painting, “in the black under-standing of Christ and Christianity from the beginning. The analogy between