Eastman Johnson (1824-1906)
“The Lord is My Shepherd” (1863)
Oil on wood
Located in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC, United States
The title of the painting comes from Psalm 23, which begins with the line: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Johnson painted it just after the Emancipation Proclamation was announced in 1863. Its imagery includes an African-American man reading the first part of a Bible, possibly the Book of Exodus. He is sitting against a blue jacket, which may indicate service in the Union army. President Abraham Lincoln had recently authorized organization of the United States Colored Troops.