Marking exodus: death and funerals in the religious paintings of Clementine Hunter Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Lilley, Laura Kathryn
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Art and Art History
  • Previous scholarship on artist Clementine Hunter of Natchitoches, Louisiana, has been predominantly biographical and stylistic. Through analysis of her religious scenes, I propose that Hunter’s paintings concerning death reflect concepts of exodus that have influenced Christianity and its practice since its beginning. Considering specifically Hunter's mid-1970s Frenchie Goin' to Heaven, I explore ideas of exodus first through the concept of death as a doorway or transitional space, an association that extends back historically to the Early Christian period. I then link the theme of exodus to the variety of religious influences apparent in Hunter's work, considering especially her depictions of angels, baptisms, and the possible influence of African-American connections between exodus, death, and baptism. These conceptual and historical considerations provide new ways of discussing the complexity of Hunter's work, whether intended by Hunter or not, that place her work in a continuum of religious thought both mainstream and idiosyncratic.
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  • In Copyright
  • Verkerk, Dorothy
  • Open access

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