UA Professor Speaks on Confederate Artists and Imagery of the “Loyal Slave”

Associate Professor Rachel Stephens presents a talk, “Loyal Artists, Loyal Slaves: Confederate Artists in Civil War Richmond,” at Virginia Humanities in Charlottesville on January 21, 2020.Rachel Stephens

In the years leading up to the Civil War, several Richmond, Va., artists, Dr. Stephens asserts, “were creating work in conversation with each other, creating a visual plantation ideal that heroicized the slave master and belittled the enslaved person.” She situates the Lost Cause phenomenon as a mythology that built upon this pre-war visual lexicon, and will address the roots of Lost Cause mythology through the repeated trope of the so-called “loyal slave.” The talk was livestreamed on Virginia Humanities Facebook page. A video of the talk is available here.

Dr. Stephens’ research for the lecture comes from a chapter in her forthcoming book Hidden in Plain Sight: The Concealment of Slavery in Antebellum American Art and was supported by a CARSCA grant from the UA College of Arts and Sciences. Stephens is the author of Selling Andrew Jackson: Ralph E. W. Earl and the Politics of Portraiture (University of South Carolina Press).

For more information about the degree programs in the UA Department of Art and Art History, go to this page or contact the department at (205) 348-5967.