Jonathan Eastman Johnson (1824 – 1906) was an American painter and co- founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

He became an Academician in 1860 and he is known for his genre paintings, paintings of scenes from everyday life, and his portraits. His later works show the influence of the 17th-century Dutch and Flemish masters, whom he studied in The Hague in the 1850s.

Old Kentucky Home completed shortly before the Civil War began, is considered Johnson’s masterpiece and the masterful handling of a divisive subject inspired both pro- and anti-slavery factions to find support for their views in this painting.

For abolitionists, the terrible living conditions matched the immorality of slavery; for slavery’s defenders, the happy nature of the enslaved people evidenced that it was neither physically nor socially destructive.

Source: High Museum of Art, Atlanta USA.