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The Trial of George Jacobs, 5th August 1692, 1855 (oil on canvas)

The Trial of George Jacobs, 5th August 1692, 1855 (oil on canvas)


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The Trial of George Jacobs, 5th August 1692, 1855 (oil on canvas)

PEM204698 The Trial of George Jacobs, 5th August 1692, 1855 (oil on canvas) by Matteson, Tompkins Harrison (1813-84); Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, USA; (add.info.: accused by his granddaughter of practicing witchcraft; arrested on 10th May 1692; failed to properly recite Lords Prayer at trial; ); ePeabody Essex Museum; American, out of copyright

Media ID 23357934

© Peabody Essex Museum / Bridgeman Images

Bench Clerk Courtroom Illiterate Judge Judgement Plea Pleading Salem Salem Witch Trials Shock Swooning


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The Trial of George Jacobs, 5th August 1692

EDITORS COMMENTS
is a captivating oil painting by Tompkins Harrison Matteson that depicts a significant moment in history - the infamous Salem Witch Trials. This powerful artwork, housed at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, transports viewers back to a time of fear and hysteria. In this scene, George Jacobs stands before the court as he faces accusations of practicing witchcraft made by his own granddaughter. The artist skillfully captures the tension and drama within the courtroom through his meticulous brushstrokes. We see George Jacobs pleading his innocence while struggling to recite the Lord's Prayer correctly - an act believed to prove one's innocence during these trials. The composition showcases various characters involved in this historic event: from judges and clerks on the bench to shocked spectators witnessing this shocking trial unfold. The expressions on their faces reveal disbelief and horror at what they are witnessing. Matteson's attention to detail allows us to immerse ourselves in this pivotal moment where justice was often overshadowed by superstition and mass hysteria. Through his masterful use of light and shadow, he creates an atmosphere charged with emotion. This thought-provoking painting serves as a reminder of how easily fear can lead people astray and highlights the importance of upholding justice even in times when it seems most elusive.

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