"Anything that furthers the great aim, Liberty, is a duty as far as I am concerned, and I shall be happy if this drawing, reproduced many times over by your art, helps keep ever-present in people's souls the memory of this liberator of our black brethren..."
---Victor Hugo writing to engravor Paul Chenay, referring to the image below.
Black ink and brown wash with highlights of white gouache on paper 20x13 in.
This drawing, also known as The hanged man or John Brown is one of four versions in which Hugo treated the subject of the gallows. In early 1854, profoundly moved by the trial and hanging of a murderer in Guernsey, he made several drawings evoking the torment of capital punishment. A few years later, in 1859, he once again sought in vain to prevent the execution of John Brown, who had taken up the defense of black slaves in the United States and had been condemned to death. ---Florian Rodari
|SHADOWS OF A HAND
The Drawings of Victor Hugo