Julius Bloch, I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes to the Hills
With the first line written beneath his image, Julius Bloch’s lithograph refers to Psalm 121:
Since the colonial era, abolitionist writers turned to Psalm 121 as proof of God’s protection for enslaved people. In his rendering, Bloch presents a shirtless black man with his eyes lifted “unto the hills,” seeking relief from God. His body is elongated, with exaggerated upper musculature; his arms hang limply at his sides. Behind him, dramatic lighting evokes the divine.
Bloch fostered a close relationship with the African American community. He was the first white artist to exhibit with the black professional Pyramid Club and regularly took black figures as his subjects. The Negro History Bulletin credited him for “the intensity of his psychological character studies of the Negro.”