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American Visual Culture Midterm Study Guide

by: Colby Diane

American Visual Culture Midterm Study Guide ARTH 28300

Marketplace > Ithaca College > Art History > ARTH 28300 > American Visual Culture Midterm Study Guide
Colby Diane
GPA 3.5

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About this Document

This study guide covers notes and handouts for the exam, looking at broad ideas as they relate to specific artists and works.
American Visual Culture: 1690-1960
Nancy Brcak
Study Guide
American Visual Culture
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This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Colby Diane on Thursday March 3, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to ARTH 28300 at Ithaca College taught by Nancy Brcak in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 40 views. For similar materials see American Visual Culture: 1690-1960 in Art History at Ithaca College.


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Date Created: 03/03/16
American Visual Culture­ Midterm Study Guide Linear (direct and precise) is the opposite of painterly (soft and flowing)  History Painting: recording of an important event that tells a story or teaches a lesson. Ex: Washington Crossing the Delaware Genre Painting: Scene of everyday life Ex: A County Election (1852), The Power of Music (1840) Landscape: painting of wilderness; the focus is on nature Still Life: subjects are inanimate objects; was originally used as practice for painters to  work on technique and style. Portrait: A person(s) is/are the main focus of the painting The English ranked painting’s importance in the following hierarchy: History painting > portraiture > genre > landscape > still life Spanish America  Baroque Style emerged, coming from the renaissance style.  Style was a combination of European and Native American architecture o The natives were builders that didn’t know the European style; the friers  were builders that were not familiar with the medium.  The buildings were made of adobe for longer stability, and had to use wood  timbers to support the ceiling (mud alone was not enough).  The Southwest style used Native American influence, wanting to convert to  Christianity and use their labor.  The Northeast settlers wanted the natives gone and to use more English influence Frier: a member of a religious order (Roman Catholic) Baroque: an elaborate style of European art and architecture characterized by ornate  detail. Renaissance Style: European style, characterized by formal balance and regularity of  parts. Early Colonial Arts Parson Capen House, Topsfield, MA, 1683  Small and few windows to keep North East cold out  Entry way by the front door to trap the heat inside and the cold out  Very sloped roof to keep snow from building up  Common layout: 2 rooms on the ground floor: kitchen/family room and a  parlor/master bedroom. Style: the distinctive visual and formal qualities Ex: linear, painterly Type: different categories: buildings by function and paintings by subject Ex: meeting house vs house; landscape vs portrait Meeting house: an early, important Colonial building type, used for religious and secular purposes. Grid: a plan in which streets run at right angles to each other; kept people close together  and kept the wilderness out. Raising Bee: a collective action by a community to create a building; in Colonial times,  creating a house for one’s neighbors. Timber Frame Construction: a structure consisting of large pieces of wood in an  interlocking system. Vernacular: common or everyday; in architecture, the buildings of a place used for  ordinary housing and other structures (not designed by an architect). Limner: anonymous portraitist  We saw this in The Freake Limner (1672), a portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Freake by an anonymous painter; painted in Elizabethan English style being flat, colorful,  patterned, and 2D. To Limn: to draw th  Before the Revolution: 18    Century America Colonial Gravestones  Common features included o The angel of death, represented as a skull with wings, later in colonial  times as a face with wings o Pineapple, representing greeting and welcome o Hour glass, representing the passage of time  People died often and were buried solo, because each person passed into the next  life together. Buildings: Thoroughgood House: VA, late 17  century  Plantation house  There is no entry way like in the Parson house; didn’t want to keep the  heat inside in Virginia.  Windows were put across from each other to cross ventilate  Made of brick because raw materials were abundant in Virginia. Drayton Hall: South Carolina, 1740  Modeled after the fancy aristocratic homes of England  Details inside were based off of the English style Wentworth­Gardner House: New Hampshire, 1760  Analogous to Drayton Hall  Made of wood but styled to look like stone o Quoins on the edges to look like British Style  No porches; no one sat outside  Hiproof: 4 sides, much less slope  4 Square Planar: one room in each corner of the house John Smibert:  Painted Dean Berkeley and His Entourage in 1729, which was a very influential  painting for other artists o Dean Berkeley wanted to start an university in Burmudah, but it never  worked out o R. Feke painted Isaac Royal and His Family, looking oddly similar to  Smibert’s painting  Brought baroque to American and impressed the colonists  Sent his painting Boy with a Squirl to England for critiques, where it was  applauded, especially because it was done by an American painter. o Smibert painted more like the president of The Royal Academy, Renold,  because Renold said Smibert’s painting wasn’t good enough.  Copley painted Mr. & Mrs. Mifflin (1772) to be more like Renold  Captures the essence of his subjects’ personalities in his paintings Benjamin West  Death of Wolfe (1770): very influence history painting. o Painting of General Wolfe dying in the arms of his soldiers. o West painted characters in their modern clothes, which was a new idea at  the time and others followed his lead. o French and Indian war  Taught John Trumbull to paint while Trumbull was in jail in England for being  suspected of as a spy during the American Revolution. John Trumbull  Did a self portrait in 1777  Painted the US Capitol Rotunda Paintings o Congressmen in the white house during important moments of American  history before, during, and after the Revolutionary War o Influenced by West’s Death of Wolfe Gilbert Stuart  The Skater (1785) of his friend skating, but positioning seems unnatural, making  us think it wasn’t done in person but in the studio  Painted George Washington—the picture that is on our $1 bill  One of the best painters of the time  Took Martha Washington’s money when she commissioned a portrait of her and  George  Painted Mrs. Perez Morton (1790s) in an impressionist style before it was known  and captured a fleeting moment, which was rare for the time. Peter Pelham  Studied Smibert, painted like him, and painted his portraits.  Made a family portrait which, again, resembles Dean Berkeley and his Entourage  Copley and Henry Pelham were raised in his household Death Carts: wooden skeletons in wooden carts, toy sized, which represented death  taking one away. Pattern Books: a book containing samples of patterns or wallpaper The Royal Academy: a highly revered art institution in London Important Buildings Washington D.C., the US Capitol plan by Pierre L’Enfant (1791­92)  L’Enfant was a French architect that was asked to design the capitol  Baroque plan: sweeping diagonal arrangements of streets, not a grid plan o Design of D.C. o Resembled Versailles, and US and France were allies at the time Benjamin Latrobe  A professional architect of the time  Trained in England  Designed the Philadelphia Branch, Bank of PA (1798­1800), Baltimore Cathedral  (1805­1820), and contributed to/started the U.S. Capitol (1818) o Encourporated domes, which were popular at the time  Brought influences of neoclassism to America from England  Combined influences with Jefferson to create the American Greek Revival style o Influenced architecture: columns, stone, detail o Influenced government and democracy Charles Bulfinch  Not a trained architect but was self­taught and designed important buildings rd  Designed Massachusetts State House (1795­98), 3  Otis House (1805), and  finished what Latrobe had started on the U.S. Capitol (1820) o The dome of the U.S. capitol was originally made of wood because  Bulfinch was not professionally trained to work with metal Thomas Jefferson  Politician, signed the Declaration of Independence, was a diplomat/representative  from America to France.  Designed the Virginia Sate House (1791)  America’s first official architect  Designed Monticello (little mountain) o Jefferson’s plantation house o The edges of the house (kitchen, stables, slave quarters) were under  ground, which hid the slavery o No one was allowed in Jefferson’s bedroom; he was having an affair with  one of his slaves, Sally Henderson, and together they had 5 children. o Monticello had influences from France, Italy, and Rome  Designed the original University of Virginia campus (1816­1826) o The library was at the head of the campus/central quad. o The library was designed after the Pantheon (Roman) o Each pavilion had a different design, mostly classical style Greek Revival: The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire exposed many nasty secrets of  Rome, and people came to favor the Greeks, modeling buildings after the Greek style.  Common Greek style was a rectangle facing the street with details such as  columns William Strickland  Designed the Second Bank of Philadelphia (1818­24), modeled after the  Pantheon, which was a place of worship and a bank.  Designed the Tennessee State Capitol (1845­50), also inspired by the Greek. Robert Mills  Designed the US Treasury Building (1836­42), using classic Greek style Russell House, designed by Ithiel Town, is claimed as one of the greatest Greek Revival  mansions in the northeast, located in Middletown, CT. Stuart & Revett’s Antiquities of Athens: a book containing architecture and Greek  styles that largely influenced the Greek revival Trompe L’oeil: visual illusion in art/paintings to make objects look 3D and realistic Neoclassicism: the revival of a classical style or treatment in art or architecture, in this  case the Americans revived Greek and Roman styles especially for architecture. Corncob Capitals: When Latrobe designed the capitol, he “Americanized” the columns  by replacing European acanthus leaves with ears of corn. th Adamesque (Robert Adam)/Federal: a popular 18  century neoclassism style of  interior design and architecture, including domes, curved walls, elaborate plasterwork,  and mixed color themes. It was used in many federal buildings, including the capitol. Capital: a place of utmost importance in a region Capitol: a building in which a regions legislation and politicians meet Maison Carree: ancient building in France, originally part of the Roman Empire. It  contains columns and detains that were greatly influential to American architects in the  1800s. Pantheon: an ancient building in Rome, with columns, details, and circular architecture  that influenced architects of the 1800s. Landscape: Hudson River School The Hudson River School was a group of painters who came together to paint, share  ideology, and learn from each other. It was NOT an academic institution. Opened in 1825 along with the Earie Canal. Thomas Cole  Traveled up the Hudson to make sketches of the American landscape.  He is credited as the starter of American landscape paintings  Founder of the Hudson River School  No formal training, and one of the first painters to make a fortune.  Painted all landscapes in the fall, even though they may not have been that way  when he painted them.  Used some of his imagination, always having a body of water and mountains— there are no mountains in NY  Painted desolate beauty because he saw that it was disappearing for  “improvements.”  Wrote Essay on American Scenery about disappearing beauty  Combined landscape and history paintings  The Course of Empire (1836) o Depicted 5 stages: hunter gatherer  civilization  grown/extravagant  civilization  fall of civilization  remains (overtaken by nature)  Again combined landscape and history paintings in The Voyage of Life (1840) o Series of 4: adolescence accompanied by his guardian angel  leaving the  angel, but things are still beautiful  adult facing the struggles of life,  feeling alone but God is shining through the clouds  elder riding calm  seas and taken back to heaven with his angel Fredric Church  Trained by Cole  Many artists felt threatened by the new technology, photography, but Church  maintained that it could not capture was paintings did: the color, the feeling, the  spray of water.  Part of the Hudson River School As photography began taking over painting, the Hudson River School moved toward  capturing the grandness that photos could not. Beautiful: aesthetically pleasing, bringing forth pleasure through site, charming Sublime: instilling overwhelming grandeur, power, awe, and/or emotion because of  beauty, greatness, or vastness. Luminism: style of painting from the 18050s­1870s of landscapes, with themes of  radiance and godliness Luminism Characterized by:  Atmospheric  Serenity/stillness  Water  Open composition, seems to go on forever  Low horizon line, much of the canvas is given to the sky  Boats are a common theme Trancendentalism­ spirituality/unity of God, man and nature Luminism is inspired by transcendentalism Lane and Heade are two important luministic painters Expatriate Painting: Genre and Portraiture Samuel F. B. Morse  Painted Exhibition Gallery at the Louvre (1832­33)  Painted a genre painting of congress/politicians  Morse brought photography to the US and later turned from painting to science Civil War and Related Images Bingham  Genre paintings of raftsmen, lower class citizens, having fun and enjoying  themselves.  Lots of triangular compositions in his paintings Paintings of the civil war as documents and patriotism were popular at this time Church (from the Hudson River School) was a dedicated patriot and painted Our Banner  in the Sky (1861)  Also painted Cotopaxi (1862), a wild, ferocious landscape painting of fire and  eruption to represent battle, death, and distruction. More Americans died in the Civil War than all the wars since combined Photos were crucial in capturing the war, but since they couldn’t capture the action they  photographed the aftermath/cost of the war e.g. dead laying on the battle field Walter: US Capitol Dome (1861­64)  A new dome, the one that is still there today, was redone  Metaphor for the Union because Lincoln insisted the dome by finished as a  symbol of unity.  Figure on top was originally a symbol of freedom with a sheathed sword and  shield, and an olive branch.  Jefferson Davis, secretary of war and later Confederate president, made the  figured change to one with a roman war helmet mixed with a Native American  head dress and much more violent. Winslow Homer  Originally painted the Civil War for Harper’s Weekly a newspaper of the time.  Largely self taught  Painted iconic Veteran in a New Field (1866), showing American trying to get  back to “normal after the war”  He later went to Paris, the art hub of the world (overtook London), where his art  because more lush and vibrant. o Used more color o Inspired by impressionists such as Monet, who painted actually outside,  which was rare for the time, using bright colors  After the Civil War, Homer painted people enjoying themselves for a time, using  greater composition and depth in his paintings.  He painted The Life Line (1884), showing a mysterious man rescuing a woman  from a ship wreck in wild seas o A common theme in his paintings was man vs. nature o At the time, the rescue was risqué and titillating  Inspired by Japanese prints, which were popular at the time o Japan had a strict class system at the time; only the top citizens could have paintings and prints were for the lower citizens o Lots of diagonals and open space, which were full of potential o Flowers and trees jutted into the picture randomly, which Homer took  influence from  Homer later turned to water colors, being one of the first artists to use this as a  real medium o Previously they had been used as quick sketch devices, not worthy of real  art o He learned techniques such as scraping the paint off, to create high lights  and texture. o Eventually mastered watercolors  Used quoache, a very opaque water color  Painterly and realistic style Thomas Eakins  Attended the Pennsylvania School of Fine Art, the first elite art institution of  America; a very big deal  Painted genre paintings of his students and their human anatomy o Swimming Hole (1885): triangular, centered, open composition cycle of  diving and swimming like life, resemble Roman sculptures o Studied individuals anatomy from photography o Also was intrigued by surgery to learn the human anatomy and watched  Dr. Gross perform surgery for his students  Gross Clinic (1875)  Taught painting, and believed in critical that all artists saw all anatomy; removed  a cloth revealing male genitalia to female artists and was fired  After the war, the middle class grew, as did exercise, and Eakins took to painting  rowing, a big sport in Philadelphia  Believe painters could capture the moments better than photos Impressionism: style of painting from France, conveying the impression of a moment  through light and color Monet: very influential impressionist Breeches Bouy: new technology shown in The Life Line for rescuing people from the sea PAFA: Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts


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