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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Folk Art: Folk Sculpture: Altar Piece
Altar Piece

Altar Piece
about 1970s-1980s
"Prophet" Royal Robertson
wood, paint, glitter, paper, and metal
49 x 22 x 12 in. (124.5 x 55.9 x 30.5 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment

Hear staff member Bridget talk about Altar Piece 1.3MB

After his wife left him, Royal Robertson created countless drawings of women as prostitutes and temptresses. His fantasy world also included spaceships, futuristic cities, and superheroes. In this piece he painted an intimidating, Amazon-like figure with revealing clothes and exaggerated proportions. By placing this alluring image on an altarpiece, Robertson expressed his belief that men are too easily bewitched by women.

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