Emily Casey, Assistant Professor of Art History, St. Mary's College of Maryland
Samuel Jennings’s Liberty Displaying the Arts and Sciences has been celebrated as the first abolitionist painting in America. Presented to the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1792 and still on view there today, the work employs allegory to link the representation of “liberty” with the making and unmaking of a revolutionary Atlantic world of slavery and freedom that encompasses British Canada, the US, the Caribbean, Europe, and the west coast of Africa. While today the painting is frequently reproduced in history books to represent early American anti-slavery sentiment, the Atlantic context of its production has been understudied. This talk will explore how the painting's link to transnational debates about revolution, liberty, and slavery is central to its meaning.
Dr. Emily Casey is an art historian specializing in the early modern Atlantic World. Her current book project, Hydrographic Vision: Representing the Sea and British America, 1750-1800, critically examines British and American visual and material culture to reveal how the world’s oceans became a space through which networks of empire and capital were imagined and constructed. She is assistant professor of art history at St. Mary's College of Maryland, the state's public honors college. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, and an A.B. from Smith College. Emily has received grants and fellowships to support her research from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the National Maritime Museum in London.