Label Text: The artist invents a dramatic and exotic paradise, filled with majestic mountains, towering trees, and rushing water. Perhaps in reference to Mary and Joseph, some pilgrims travel by donkey and stop to pray in front of a makeshift cross in nature’s cathedral. On the opposite shore, a couple of soldiers dressed in Union blue congregate near another icon, the American flag. A rainbow, a symbol of hope, breaks through the dark clouds above. The scene is one of promise and beauty.
Robert Seldon Duncanson painted Heart of the Andes in homage to Frederic Edwin Church’s painting of the same name, which he first viewed in 1860. Duncanson was a member of the Hudson River School group of artists who believed that landscape could be a vehicle for discussing the American experience. But Duncanson,
an African-American artist, may also have used his paintings to express a more personal perspective.