By Thomas Gaehtgens
American painters and picture artists of the eighteenth and 19th centuries sought suggestion for his or her paintings within the uniquely American adventure of background and nature. the end result used to be a metamorphosis of the traditional outdated international visible language into an indigenous and populist New global syntax. The twelve essays during this quantity discover the improvement of a frontier mythology, a democratic kind depicting universal humans and items, and an American inventive realization and id. Conceived and written from the views of either cultural and artwork historians, American Icons initiates an interdisciplinary dialogue at the complicated relationships among American and eu artwork.
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Additional resources for American Icons: Transatlantic Perspectives on Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century American Art (Issues & Debates)
2. Much of my thinking in the following essay has been prompted by research undertaken with a committee of scholars who formed an advisory group for an exhibition, The Americanization of Columbus, which ultimately did not take place. I am particularly indebted to my cocurator, Ann Uhry Abrams, and to Terence Martin and Christian Zacher. See especially Terence Martin, "The Negative Structures of American Literature,' 1 American Literature 57 (March 1985): 1-22. 3. My approach to the study of American art is based on the premise that it can be conceived as a potential "national expression" having a class-spanning rather than a class-less social distribution, one in which visual imagery from commercial objects, as well as "fine arts," graphs the prevalence, dominance, and tenacity of belief systems.
Native Americans, one could say with justice and appropriateness, were neither here nor there as far as these monuments, their makers, and their patronage were concerned. We might begin to appreciate the essentially self-reflexive significance of American typologies of the Landing of Columbus and their relation to racial issues throughout the century by comparing them to European treatments of the event. While scenes of Columbus's departure from Palos and of his triumphant return to the court after his first voyage not surprisingly predominate in Italian, French, and Spanish art, "Landings" appear with enough frequency to identify exemplary canvases.
The seventeenth-century Landing scenes by G. B. Carlone in the Palazzo Ducale and by Lorenzo Tavorone in the Palazzo Belimbau, both in Genoa, exhibit a pronounced interest in the royal and religious sponsorship of the enterprise as well as in Columbus's personal devoutness and decidedly well25 GROSECLOSE 9. 8 cm. New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery, The Edwin Austin Abbey Memorial Collection, no. 2317. 10. N. C. 4 cm. , United States Naval Academy Museum, no. 2. 26 AMERICAN GENESIS 27 GROSECLOSE born appearance.
American Icons: Transatlantic Perspectives on Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century American Art (Issues & Debates) by Thomas Gaehtgens