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Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

John McCrady, American, 1911–1968
Oil on canvas
Made in
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, North and Central America
Oxford, Mississippi, United States, North and Central America
Current Location
On View, Gallery 333
37 in. × 50 3/16 in. (94 × 127.5 cm)
framed (sight): 45 × 58 1/4 in. (114.3 × 148 cm)
Credit Line
Eliza McMillan Trust
© McCrady Estate
Object Number
A family gathers around a dying patriarch in a simple rural home. They are unaware that outside, above the remote countryside, a spectacular host of angels descends from the celestial realm to receive him. John McCrady, the son of a rural southern minister, often explored religious themes in his art. In a letter to the Saint Louis Art Museum, he remembered that "Some thirty years ago I was sketching near Oxford, Mississippi, and when I found this house . . . I met and talked with an old man . . . sitting on the porch . . . After the Museum bought this picture . . . I returned to this very pleasant place, he was gone, and so was his house . . . Even though I never knew his name I was well acquainted with his conversation, and I feel today that something like what is depicted in the painting, was very likely what really happened."
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