Edward Hicks, American, 1780 - 1849
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By the spring of 1816 Quaker minister Edward Hicks had reconciled his penchant and skill for ornamental painting with Quaker ideas of simplicity and plainness by liberally interpreting his religion's codes about earning a living by honest work. At this time he rejoined the painting shop he had established in 1811 and began creating landscape, history, and religious art for his family and friends in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. This unusual image of Noah's ark is based on an 1844 lithograph by Nathaniel Currier. The animals Hicks added to the scene resemble those in his earlier representations of his favorite biblical subject: Isaiah's prophecy of the “peaceable kingdom.” The cooperative animals express Hicks's Quaker belief in mankind's ability to live together harmoniously in nature, just as the story of Noah promises humanity a fresh start.