The Baptism is a recollection of the fact that during the warm weather the shallow streams in the Southern states were frequently used for baptismal purposes. In this picture, the train represents the encroachment of another culture.
Captivated by rituals of all kinds, the baptism is a theme Bearden returned to many times throughout his career. This incarnation of the Christian sacrament of baptism is especially Southern, depicting the river as the ceremonial bath where the repentant follower undergoes the ritual cleansing of the body and spirit. This scene may be familiar to Southerners, and one which Bearden certainly witnessed during the summers he spent in Charlotte as a child.
watercolor, graphite, gouache, Ingres Fabriano paper
Measurements: image height: 11 inches image width: 17 inches sheet height: 14 inches sheet width: 19.5 inches frame height: 21.125 inches frame width: 26.625 inches frame depth: 1.5 inchesMuseum Purchase: Funds provided by the Charlotte Garden Club, the YAMS (Young Affiliates of the Mint), the Collector's Circle and Exchange Funds from the Gift of Harry and Mary Dalton. 2005.86.1 Art © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
Currently on view at Mint Museum UPTOWN