Art: Imperturbable Innocence

"I have nothing to depend on but the mercy and forgiveness of God," wrote Edward Hicks when the shadow of death was upon him, "for I have no works of righteousness of my own. I am nothing but a poor old worthless insignificant painter." This may be as fine a case of being one's own harshest critic as the annals of American art can offer. When Hicks died in 1849, in his 70th year, more than 3,000 people came to his funeral—an imposing turnout today, but a prodigious crowd then. They did not come...

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