The Judgement Day (1939) by Aaron Douglas

The Judgement Day - Aaron Douglas - 1939

Artwork Information

TitleThe Judgement Day
ArtistAaron Douglas
Dimensions121 x 91 cm
Art MovementArt Deco, Synthetic Cubism, Harlem Renaissance

About The Judgement Day

“The Judgement Day” is a significant piece of artwork by Aaron Douglas, created in 1939. As a history painting, it embodies the sensibilities of the Art Deco movement, incorporates elements of Synthetic Cubism, and is also reflective of the cultural milieu of the Harlem Renaissance. The artwork is executed in oil on canvas, measuring 121 centimeters by 91 centimeters.

The artwork depicts an array of overlapping, silhouette-like figures that appear to be ascending or floating against a backdrop of angular shapes and planes, characteristic of both Art Deco geometry and the facetted methodology of Cubism. These figures are rendered in a limited color palette, which imparts a sense of unity and emphasizes their shapes over individual details. The central figure suggests an angelic or divine presence highlighted against a lighter hue, holding a trumpet—perhaps a symbol of the spiritual call or awakening, commonly associated with the concept of judgement or resurrection. The artwork’s abstract stylization, combined with its subject matter, imbues it with a sense of awe and the monumental nature of the theme it represents. Aaron Douglas’s work is notable for its fusion of modern art techniques with African themes and concerns, and “The Judgement Day” is a compelling example of this synthesis.

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