Jacob Lawrence's The Migration Of The Negro

1209 Words5 Pages
In a century when painting has shifted away from narrative, Jacob Lawrence is a master storyteller, bringing to life important historical events by drawing upon his emotional responses to them. In The Migration of the Negro, Lawrence immerses his artistic abilities in the depiction of African-Americans moving North to find jobs, better housing, and freedom from oppression. He works alongside well-known photographers such as Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White, Jack Delano, and Rosalie Gwathmey, documenting the African-American experience during this significant period of relocation. Lawrence’s use of myriad sources helps convey an accurate and enticing story. However, he adopts a different method in painting the scenes rather than photographing them – Lawrence designs a migration that is immediate, that we can understand, and that we can perhaps feel coursing through our veins. Sweltering in their immediacy, the works show only indispensable imagery. Flattened, angular forms, strong diagonals, and contrasts of light and shadow contribute to the vitality of the images. As the narrative develops, from image to image, the vantage point, compositions, and details change – a manner…show more content…
Photographs stipulate the impression that the photo was once real life; it was once a living, breathing juncture. Lawrence’s The Migration of the Negro offers a similar factual depiction of the African-American migration, yet it lacks the pungent moment in time that a photograph can capture. Nonetheless, one component Lawrence’s paintings present to the viewer that photographs do not is an emotional entanglement with the event it is representing. Lawrence expended time and soul for his paintings, conquering an event that photographs can seize in less than a second; because of this time Lawrence disbursed pursuing his artwork, the paintings deliver an emotional depth that photographs are in want

More about Jacob Lawrence's The Migration Of The Negro

Open Document