“Intersections: Scriptures, Prints, and Paintings in Antebellum America”
A Symposium

Monday, May 2, 2005

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with reception following

Sponsored by
The Library Company of Philadelphia
The Center for American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art

This symposium is supported by a generous grant from the
Barra Foundation, Inc.

No Registration Fee - Advance Reservations Required
(Contact Kate Norton knorton@librarycompany.org or call 215-546-3181 to R.S.V.P.)




Registration and refreshments


Welcoming remarks


Sally M. Promey (Professor of American Art History, University of Maryland): Mirror Images: "Framing" the Self in Early New England Material Practice. Prof. Promey will discuss the use of pictures in the Puritan devotional practice of self-examination.


James Green (Librarian, Library Company of Philadelphia): The American Bible Illustrated. He will discuss six large bible ventures between 1788 and 1846 and will focus on American bible illustration in the context of developing printing technologies and publishing enterprises.

11:00 Coffee break


Carol Soltis (Consulting Curator, Center for American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art): Jefferson's Art Collection: Democracy and "The Lessons of Religion". Thomas Jefferson was a major proponent of religious freedom and his religious speculations led him to create his own bible. This talk will identify and illustrate the paintings of religious subject matter in the President's collection at Monticello, explore the various reasons for their acquisition and retention by Jefferson, and discuss their relationship to his bible and political perspective.

12:00 Lunch (on your own)


David Morgan (Duesenberg Professor of Christianity and the Arts,Valparaiso University): From Bibles to Flags: 19th-Century American Sacred Imagery of Nationhood. This talk examines the importance of the bible for national formation in public schools focusing on graphics in school books, tracts, and related imagery. He will explore the place of the bible in American life and its eventual replacement by thenational flag when the courts determined shortly after the Civil War that bibles could not be used as textbooks.


Mark Schantz (Associate Professor of History, Hendrix College): Mortality and Morality: ‘The Court of Death’ in American Antebellum Culture. Prof. Schantz will situate Rembrandt Peale's successful exhibition picture, The Court of Death, in the wider antebellum world of imaginings on death -- particularly in dialogue with the varieties of memorial lithography (Currier & Ives, etc.) and post-mortem photography.


Guy Jordan (Ph.D. candidate in Art History, University of Maryland): Looking Down the Road to Ruin in the 1840s. This paper situates the consumption of images in the 1840s within the visual culture of moral reform, arguing that the cultural construction of vision during this decade was fundamentally affected by intersections between serial narratives, reform physiology, and religious revivalism.


Wrap-up with speakers (opportunities for further research) and audience discussion, moderated by Kathleen Foster, Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Curator of American Art, Center for American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

4:30 Reception

Credits Exhibit Home
Introduction The Scriptures Illustrated Narrative, Allegory and History Landscape Domestic Piety and Social Improvement