Aaron Douglas is a famous African-American artist who revolutionized art with his illustrations in the collection of poems entitled God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse by James Weldon Johnson. His work was a significant contributor to the Harlem Renaissance, an intellectual and cultural movement that occurred during the 1920s.
Douglas’ art in God’s Trombones was heavily influenced by cubism and African sculpture motifs. Elements such as clear-cut delineation, change of shadows and light, stylized human bodies, and geometric figures as concentric circles were prevalent in his artistic style. The Let My People Go painting in lavender and yellow-gold hues belongs to a series of eight panels that revisits designs Douglas made for illustrating Johnson’s God’s Trombones in 1926.
In a series of seven paintings based on this collection of poems, Douglas successfully breathed cultural life into biblical scenes like the crucifixion and the end of the world. Douglas’ innovative approach brought African-American culture representation onto mainstream platforms; therefore generating inclusive sociocultural environments through art communities. Overall, Aaron Douglas remains one of America’s most critically acclaimed artists whose artwork continues to inspire audiences worldwide.