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American Art Project Essay

It is believable that John Vanderlyn, in his painting Landing of Columbus, was trying to portray the success of Columbus and his crew. Columbus heroic stance and elegant expression are made all the more impressive in comparison to the native people who witness the event. The Native Americans are naked, fearful or subservient, bowing down before the explorer in awe and reverence. The symbols of empire are shown in the heroic explorer with his Christian crosses and steel swords symbolizing the significance in the power of civilization. In 1836 of June, Congress had commissioned John Vanderlyn to paint the Landing of Columbus. About eleven years later the painting was hung in the Rotunda by January 1847. Expansion was an overwhelming preoccupation in nineteenth-century America, but it was by no means the only cultural preoccupation. The subject of the painting, foregrounding the ambiguous meeting of two cultures, provided a space for artists to work out many central issues, for example, how to reconcile Indian Removal with notions of the Noble Savage. Another way is how to remake a country torn apart by sectional strife. The following settlements and expansions span the period from 1835 to 1912.

Americans had a chaotic eighty-year period that witnessed the filling of Americas geographical borders, the bloody anguish of the Civil War, the horror of slavery in America, the overthrow of Native peoples, and many more events pertaining to the expansion. Vanderlyns painting contains images of contact between European explorers and Native Americans. He clearly shows a representation of what many of the settlements contained and how frightened the Natives were. John Trumbulls painting of the Declaration of Independence depicts the signing of the declaration by forty-two out of the fifty-six and five patriots. It is believed that Trumbull was paid to paint Jeffersons foot on top of Adams foot to illustrate that Jefferson dominated Adams. However, as time passed, the painting had been exposed to smoke, dirt, humidity, and other elements. Before modern art preservation was mastered, the painting had been repainted to repair damaged areas. The repairing is what changed the shape of Jeffersons foot to look as though it was on Adams foot.

The painting of the Declaration of Independence was commissioned by Congress in1817, but the painting was not hung until October 5, 1818. There were no major events recorded during the time of Trumbulls painting. However there were many questions being asked about what compelled Trumbull to paint the scene inaccurately Trumbulls depiction was not to paint the scene correctly, but to show value of the document and its sacred place in our nations history. He wanted to capture the real meaning of the Declaration of Independence and the men who wrote and signed it. It is promising that John Trumbull did a very good job at communicating his message through context and content. Similar to Trumbulls Declaration of Independence, the General George Washington Resigning His Commission painting features an arrangement of characters with figures standing and seated in the background. Also, in the central action being the transfer of documents, George Washington is standing in the center showing the democratic ideal shared between the two paintings.

Furthermore, the addition of a draped cloak over Washingtons chair is reminiscent of a kings robe over a throne. This symbolization is of Washingtons retirement from rule and establishing civilian authority over the military. Trumbulls painting General George Washington Resigning His Commission was commissioned in 1817 and hung in 1824. Many events have occurred during this time, however, none pertain to Trumbulls painting. On the other hand, the painting depicts Washington submitting his resignation as Army Commander-in-Chief to the Congress on December 23, 1783. Washington stands in the center of the room at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, where Congress was meeting at the time, and addresses the president of the Congress. Trumbull, although he added extra people in his painting, depicted a clear message about George Washington and his resignation. The Embarkation of the Pilgrims by Robert Weir affects many people with the upsetting feeling many get from reading the words of one of the Pilgrims, We sang psalms and were merry. The painting is gloomy, hard and uninteresting, but depicts the respect of the general public because of its deep religious spirit. Also, because of the clever handling of shadowing and general carefulness, the painting has an admirable technique.

In 1836, the United States government commissioned Robert W. Weir to paint the Embarkation of the Pilgrims and hung in 1843. The Mexican war was an event that inspired Weirs painting. The moral and geographic greatnesses were absolutely holey understandings. In other words, when the land was conquered through an event like the Mexican War, it was ultimately acceptable by the righteous promise of the Embarkation. The painting represents significant historical moments leading to the founding of the American Republic. The painting clearly depicts the Pilgrim families gathered around their pastor, John Robinson, for a farewell service on the deck of the Speedwell before its departure from Holland. Thomas Hart Benton, Missouri Benton was born on March 14, 1782, in Hillsboro, North Carolina. When his family migrated to Tennessee his father had died, and as a young man, was left in charge of significant land holdings. Benton, who established a law practice, also served as a colonel in the War of 1812 under General Andrew Jackson. He practiced law and edited the second newspaper west of the Mississippi after moving to St. Louis, Missouri in 1815.

In 1820, Benton ran for Senate with the interests of bettering the western territories. His support of the anti-United States Bank earned him support. However, Bentons anti-slavery views cost him the seat as Senate. In 1852 Benton was elected to the House of Representatives, but only served one term. Benton had written Thirty Years from 1855 to 1858 and Abridgement of Debates of Congress from 1789 to 1856. Benton Died on April 10, 1858. Personaly, Thomas Benton is a good choice to represent the stateof Missouri. However, he should have thought carefully about the slavery terms. Francis Blair, Missouri Francis Blair, born on February 19, 1821, in Lexington, Kentucky, attended schools in Washington, D.C. and graduated from Princeton University in 1841. Most importantly Blair had studied law at Transylvania University. In 1842he went on to practice in St. Louis, Missouri. During the Mexican War, Blair was selected as attorney general for the New Mexican Territory.

He was also a personal friend of Thomas Benton. The only difference between the two men is that Benton was for slavery and Blair was against it. Blair, in 1852, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. However, he was defeated in 1858. In 1860 he was reelected into the House. During he Civil War Benton served as a major general, and in 1861, was saved Missouri for the Union. Unfortunately, his helping with the Union left him broke and unsuccessful for election as vice president in 1868. In 1871 he was, however, was chosen to become the United States Senator. Blair died from paralysis on July 9, 1875. Blair, better than Benton, is a great representative for Missouri because of his heart for the state and the people.


Atkins, Scott. The Pilgrims in the Capitol. Virginia.edu. February 25, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2014.
http//xroads.virginia.edu/cap/puritan/purrot.html. Francis Preston Blair. Architect of the Capitol. February 25, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2014. http//www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/national-statuary-hall-collection/francis-preston-blair. General George Washington Resigning His Commission. Learn NC. February 25, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2014. http//www.learnnc.org/lp/multimedia/6288. Parker, Edgar. Embarkation of the Pilgrims. Pilgrim Hall Museum. February 25, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2014. http//www.pilgrimhallmuseum.org/ce_history_paintings.htm. Swislocki, Allie and Joanna Hallac. Trumbulls Declaration of Independence Fact orFiction Blog, November 04, 2011. Accessed February 25, 2014. http//uschs.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/trumbulls-declaration-of-independence-fact-or-fiction/ The Embarkation of the Pilgrims. book dome. February 25, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2014. http//bookdome.com/architecture/National-Capitol/The-Embarkation-Of-The-Pilgrims.html. Thomas Hart Benton. Architect of the Capitol. February 25, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2014. http//www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/national-statuary-hall-collection/thomas-hart-benton. Truettner, William H. Prelude to Expansion Repainting the Past. In West as America Reinterpreting Images on the Frontier, 1820-1920, edited by William H. Trumbulls Old Senate Chamber. Marylands Old Senate Chamber. September 21, 2012. Accessed February 25, 2014. http//marylandstatehouse.blogspot.com/2012/09/trumbulls-old-senate-chamber.html. Truettner, Prelude to Expansion, 55-95 and Vivian Green Fryd, Art Empire The Politics of Ethnicity in the United States Capitol, 1815-1860 (New Haven and London Yale University Press, 1992). Allie Swislocki and Joanna Hallac, Trumbulls Declaration of Independence Fact orFiction Blog, November 04, 2011. Accessed February 25, 2014. HYPERLINK http//uschs.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/trumbulls-declaration-of-independence-fact-or-fiction/http//uschs.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/trumbulls-declaration-of-independence-fact-or-fiction/. Trumbulls Old Senate Chamber, Marylands Old Senate Chamber, September 21, 2012, accessed February 25, 2014, http//marylandstatehouse.blogspot.com/2012/09/trumbulls-old-senate-chamber.html. General George Washington Resigning His Commission, Learn NC, February 25, 2014, accessed February 25, 2014, http//www.learnnc.org/lp/multimedia/6288. The Embarkation of the Pilgrims,
book dome, February 25, 2014, accessed February 25, 2014, http//bookdome.com/architecture/National-Capitol/The-Embarkation-Of-The-Pilgrims.html. Atkins, Scott, The Pilgrims in the Capitol, Virginia.edu, February 25, 2014, accessed February 25, 2014, http//xroads.virginia.edu/cap/puritan/purrot.html. Edgar Parker, Embarkation of the Pilgrims, Pilgrim Hall Museum, February 25, 2014, accessed February 25, 2014, http//www.pilgrimhallmuseum.org/ce_history_paintings.htm. Thomas Hart Benton, Architect of the Capitol, February 25, 2014, accessed February 25, 2014, http//www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/national-statuary-hall-collection/thomas-hart-benton. Francis Preston Blair, Architect of

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