Mount was an accomplished fiddle player and even patented a new design for the instrument.
Set in rural Long Island before the Civil War, Mount's complex painting presents an African American laborer listening intently to a fiddle tune enjoyed by white men. While a love of music unites the figures in a bond of shared humanity, the two races occupy different spaces--one inside, one outside, both separated by a barn door--effectively symbolizing the pronounced divisions in America at the time.
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