Let My People Go (1935 – 1939) by Aaron Douglas

Let My People Go - Aaron Douglas - 1935 - 1939

Artwork Information

TitleLet My People Go
ArtistAaron Douglas
Date1935 - 1939
Art MovementArt Deco, Cubism
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art (Met), New York City, NY, US

About Let My People Go

The artwork entitled “Let My People Go” by Aaron Douglas, created between 1935 and 1939, utilizes oil on masonite as its medium. The piece is indicative of the Art Deco and Cubism movements and falls within the genres of symbolic painting and illustration. It is exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, United States.

The composition of the artwork harmonizes the aesthetics of Art Deco with the geometric fragmentation of Cubism. Figures are rendered in a simplified, stylized manner, with a strong emphasis on angular, abstract forms that build the narrative and symbolic content of the painting. The palette is subdued, employing shades of purple, yellow, and green to evoke a mood that is both ethereal and rooted in the gravity of its subject matter. The artwork suggests a scene of liberation or exodus, resonating with the title’s biblical reference to the plea for freedom. Subtle graduations of tone and hue create a sense of depth and dimensionality, while the streamlined silhouettes and dynamic forms convey movement and drama. At the focal point, a figure appears to be leading or guiding, emphasized by surrounding arrows that reinforce the direction and purpose of their journey. The use of silhouette and the ambiguity of precise features invite viewers to imprint their own interpretations on the figures and the narrative they embody. Overall, the artwork speaks to themes of struggle, release, and the enduring quest for emancipation.

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