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Study for Christ and Nicodemus on a Rooftop

ca. 1923 Henry Ossawa Tanner Born: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1859 Died: Paris, France 1937 oil on wood panel 9 1/2 x 13 in. (24.0 x 33.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Robbins 1983.95.188A Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 12A

Luce Center Label

This study for Christ and Nicodemus on a Rooftop made Henry Ossawa Tanner's reputation. The story of Nicodemus visiting Christ at night spoke to African American worship habits that Tanner remembered from his youth: After emancipation, freed slaves continued to meet at night, as they had done when their masters had forbidden them to read the Bible (Mosby, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1991).


Religion - New Testament - Christ

Religion - New Testament - Nicodemus


paint - oil