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Julius Hübner - Wayside Devotion

Julius Hübner (1842-1874), German
Wayside Devotion, 1871
OIL ON CANVAS, 28 x 24 inches
Gift of Horace Fairbanks

Julius Hübner's depiction of a roadside altar offers a quiet celebration of childhood piety. The two figures, perhaps grand¬father and granddaughter judging by their disparate ages, have stopped to pray on their way to or from their work in the field, as the hand-held scythe and water jug resting on the altar before them suggest. The girl prays to the figures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus.

The art historian John Davis has elaborated on the appeal of this type of Catholic subject matter for Protestant artists and patrons in the United States, identifying it as a form of exoticism for those whose own religious traditions forbad such overt imagery.