Thomas Satterwhite Noble

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Thomas Satterwhite Noble
Thomas satterwhite noble portrait.jpg
Thomas Satterwhite Noble (undated photo)
Born (1835-05-29)May 29, 1835
Lexington, Kentucky
Died April 27, 1907(1907-04-27) (aged 71)
New York, New York
Resting place Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio
Nationality American
Education Oliver Frazier, George P. A. Healey, Thomas Couture
Known for Painting
Notable work The Modern Medea (1867)
The Price of Blood (1868)
The Sibyl (1896)
Thomas Satterwhite Noble's boyhood home in Lexington, Kentucky.

Thomas Satterwhite Noble (May 29, 1835 – April 27, 1907) was an American painter and teacher. He served in the Confederate army and later became the first head of the McMicken School of Design.


The Modern Medea

Noble was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and raised on a plantation where hemp and cotton were grown. Noble saw the effects of slavery firsthand and portrayed many scenes of the Old South in his works. He attended Transylvania University in Lexington and studied art with Oliver Frazier and George P. A. Healey and moved to New York, New York in 1853 at age eighteen.

He first studied painting with Samuel Woodson Price in Louisville, Kentucky in 1852, then with Thomas Couture in Paris, 1856–1859 and returned to the United States in 1859. He served in the Confederate army from 1862 to 1865 during the American Civil War, despite his avowed hatred for slavery. After the war, Noble had a studio in New York City from 1866 to 1869. In 1869, he was invited to become the first head of the McMicken School of Design in Cincinnati, Ohio, a post he would hold until 1904. In 1887, the McMicken School of Design became the present-day Art Academy of Cincinnati. During his tenure at the McMicken School of Design, Noble moved briefly to Munich, Germany where he studied from 1881-1883. He retired in 1904 and died in New York City on April 27, 1907. He is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.[citation needed]

Noble's works are largely historical presentations. Modern critics have viewed them as overly romanticized, while others believe that he painted realistic scenes from actual events. One of his most famous paintings is The Modern Medea (1867) which portrays a tragic event from 1856 in which Margaret Garner, a fugitive slave mother, has murdered one of her children, rather than see her returned to slavery. (This event was the inspiration for Toni Morrison's novel Beloved.)


Birchfield, James D., Albert Boime, and William J. Hennessey. Thomas Satterwhite Noble, 1835-1907 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky), 1989. ISBN 0-929007-00-X

External links[edit]