Aaron Douglas painted Noah’s Ark in 1927 on masonite board. The painting is inspired by the story of Noah and the great flood in the Bible. Douglas used Cubism and African sculpture motifs, shapes, directional lines, color, light, and value to breathe cultural life into his work. This painting is part of a seven-piece series based on James Weldon Johnson’s book of poems, God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse.
Noah’s Ark depicts the classic Biblical story of how God destroyed humanity but saved Noah and his family from the great flood. The painting is currently on display at The Carl Van Techten Gallery of Fine Arts at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Aaron Douglas was a leader within the Harlem Renaissance movement that revolutionized African-American art in America during this period. Douglas created an extensive portfolio that helped to bring Harlem Renaissance into national prominence. His artworks have had significant influence in shaping Black art spaces across America.
Noah’s Ark offers insight into one aspect of Douglas’ larger oeuvre as he has contributed significantly to contemporary American arts through his unique expressionist pieces primarily focused on Afrocentric themes and subject matters using Cubism style motifs quite distinct from Picasso or Braque tenets while not disregarding their significance as inspirations garnered along with his travels around Africa which reflected predominantly throughout most of his works dealing with issues surrounding race relations at large centered around empowerment and transcending circumstances through self-actualization while drawing attention to African symbolism often neglected within Eurocentric artistic traditions.