The Judgment Day

Artist Aaron Douglas created three images that are illustrations for the book of poems by James Weldon Johnson titled God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse. He rendered each piece with a flatly painted, hard-edged style reminiscent of the angularity found in some types of historical African sculpture. In these poems, Johnson draws on the rhythms and pacing of an African American minister preaching to the congregation.

The Judgment Day refers to life after death and how, on the day of judgment, the souls of the living and the dead will be either condemned or redeemed based on their behavior during earthly life. A winged angel, Gabriel, blows a trumpet with "one foot on the mountain top" and the other "in the middle of the sea." Holding a key to the kingdom of heaven in his left hand, Gabriel blows his horn to "wake" the living nations.

 From the Detroit Institute of Arts' exhibition of selections from the Walter O. Evans Collection (2006).

Aaron Douglas
11.75" x 9"  Gouache on paper 1927

The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art

One of the most important collections of African American visual art dating from the 18th century to the present, the collection includes 62 works from Edward Bannister, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Robert S. Duncanson, Richard Hunt, Jacob Lawrence and others. This collection forms the foundation of a multidisciplinary center for the study, understanding and appreciation of African American art and culture. Items from the collection have previously rotated in the Evans Center Gallery and through unique exhibitions such as the 2012 "Life's Link: A Fred Wilson Installation," and the 2017 travelling exhibition of Jacob Lawrence's work.

11.75" x 9"
Gouache on paper
Not On View