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Roger Medearis
Godly Susan
1941
egg tempera
27 5/8 x 23 5/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Roger and Elizabeth Medearis



Medearis celebrates the life of his remarkable grandmother in this portrait. Born during the Civil War, Susan Medearis married young and raised eleven children. She and her husband moved from farm to farm as their family grew, sometimes traveling by covered wagon, sometimes by train. Although they seldom owned more than the bare necessities, they helped cultivate the land into the lush countryside Medearis shows as her backdrop. He also acknowledges the central place religion played in her life. Despite hardship, godly Susan's faith was never shaken; like her father and grandfather, three of her sons became Baptist preachers.