May 3, 2015
Art in History Assignment
The Declaration of Independence
Artist: John Trumbull In this picture, the artist captured his idea of what he thought it looked like when the first draft of the Declaration of Independence was presented to the Second Continental Congress. He made the furniture more elegant and changed the venetian blinds to heavy drapery trying to make the meeting place of one of the most important documents of our nation more eye catching. The people seated in the picture look attentive. The group of men standing in front of the table include Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and more. To me it looks as if the gentlemen who surround Jefferson are “waiting for a change” so to speak. The artist painted this picture in 1818, but it wasn’t put into the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol until 1826. In the year 1818, congress had decided that the flag would be 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars. Maybe the artist wanted to do a patriotic painting for the release of the new flag for the United States. Also in the same year General Andrew Jackson had captured Pensacola, Florida and he also conquers Saint Marks, Florida from the Seminole Indians. Embarkation of the Pilgrims
Artist: Robert W. Weir This portrait of the Pilgrims is a very deep one. The Pilgrims had set said on the ship, Speedwell. They were pulling out and headed for North America in hopes to gain religious freedom. I think that the artist wanted everyone to know how desperate the Pilgrims were and the look on all of their faces just screams desperation. Weir even painted the words, “God with us” in the edge of the flag. The portrait of the Pilgrims was painted in July 1843 and was hung in the U.S. Capitol in December of that same year. In the year 1843 not much happened historically that could have motivated him to paint such depiction, but in the same month that he painted it Mormon leader Joseph Smith states that God allows polygamy. This could have made him think more about religious freedom and the hope that God is always with us. The rainbow in the picture symbolizes hope for a better future, a future without polygamy.
Landing of Columbus
Artist: John Vanderlyn In this picture of the landing of Columbus you get a glimpse at what is happening when Columbus has “found the Americas”. He has landed in the West Indies and from the look on his face he is relieved and grateful. The Indians in the pictured to me look scared and concerned as they are hiding behind trees and in the wooded area from these strange men. The artist shows the men in the background steadily unloading the Santa Maria. Columbus has the royal banner in his left hand raised and his sword pointed to the earth. His hat is off of his head and on the ground to show his humble attitude. The two men kneeling to me remind me of someone dropping down immediately to thank God for what they have found/discovered. The painting was completed around late summer of 1846 and was installed into the Rotunda in January of 1847.
Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto
Artist: William H. Powell William Powell created an amazing portrait of this scene. The colors and patterns are breathtaking. It is a very busy picture with a lot going on. Hernando De Soto is riding in on a white horse, the Indians are not afraid because they are all outside of their Teepee’s. You see De Soto’s men with their weapons and the moving of one of the canons. To the far left of the picture you see a soldier wrapping his hurt leg up. To the right you see a monk praying as another man hoists up a wooden cross. One Indian chief is holding up