Loyal Artists, Loyal Slaves


Confederate Artists in Civil War Richmond

African American Heritage  •  Fellowships  •  History

William Ludwell Sheppard, I Carried Him Home, Marse Charlie, undated. 
The Valentine, Richmond
William Ludwell Sheppard, I Carried Him Home, Marse Charlie, undated. The Valentine, Richmond

Watch this free public talk by Rachel Stephens, Associate Professor of Art History, American Art and Architecture at the University of Alabama.

Much can be gleaned about the role of art in 19th-century society by looking at the pro-slavery, Confederate-supporting artists.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, several Richmond artists were producing work in conversation with each other, creating a visual plantation ideal that heroicized the slave master and belittled the enslaved person. Stephens’ talk situates the Lost Cause phenomenon as a mythology that built upon this pre-war visual lexicon. She will address the roots of Lost Cause mythology through the repeated trope of the so-called “loyal slave.”

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