Nineteenth Century Romanticism

When visiting the Nineteenth Century Romanticism Gallery, one can experience all aspects of Romanticism, displayed by a variety of painters, in a minimal amount of time. Remarkable paintings by artists such as Thomas Doughty, Thomas Cole, and Lilly Martin Spencer can be viewed firsthand at just the push of a button. Essentially, Romanticism captures the admiration and essence of natural beauty, which greatly contrasted common city-life of the time. Romanticism is a movement in which artists began to encompass their ideas of the American Dream, rather than the commonly painted images associated with classicism.

Painted in the mid-late 1820s, "On the Beach" by Thomas Doughty identifies with the themes of Westward Expansion and Discovery, and a Nostalgia for Wilderness Lost to Progress.
Thomas Cole's "Architect's Dream" (1840) encompasses the state of civilization. Here, an architect is pictured with several unique monumental structures, each from their own culture and time period. This painting envisions the admiration of society over time.
"The Indian's Vespers" by Asher B. Durand depicts a world beyond the borders of America, and even a scene that is nostalgic for a wilderness lost to progress. Durand sought to capture the beauty of nature in a foreign land, and how the natives admired it.
Frederic Edwin Church's depiction of a waterfall in Colombia demonstrates the common theme in Romanticism inspired by a world beyond the borders of America. The painting shows a horizontal view of a brook, its untouched shrubbery, and a rainbow.
Robert S. Duncanson's "Pompeii" (1855), encompasses the theme of both the state of civilization (in ruins after Vesuvius), and a world beyond the borders of America (as Italy is clearly not in America). This painting depicts Pompeii's ruins being examined by a group, and the boats in the back prove the later advancement of society.
Albert Bierstadts painting, titled , "Study for 'The Last of the Buffalo'" shows the scene of a Native American on horseback hunting buffalo. This image encompasses the traditional way of hunting prior to industrialization. Viewers can enjoy this image because of the action and intensity involved.
Thomas Moran's "Valley of Cuernavaca" shows a beautiful depiction of, well, the Valley of Cuernacava. This painting uses the element of light to its advantage, highlighting the scenery's natural beauty.
Jasper Francis Cropsey's painting of a farmyard in New Hampshire clearly embodies the spirit of the American Dream and Westward Expansion: being able to move suddenly, start a new life, and prosper in a new community.
Severin Roesen's painting of a still life clearly captures any viewers' eyes. His use of bright colors, and aesthetically pleasing elements of nature (fruits and flowers) pull the viewer into the image.
"Boatmen on the Missouri" by George Caleb Bingham, is clearly a Genre-style painting. These three men, are depicted as "typical Americans" fishing on a river. "Boatmen on the Missouri" is a typical painting from the Romanticism era.
Now located in the White House, George Henry Durrie's "Farmyard in Winter" shows exactly that: a farmyard in the winter. Durrie's use of color and detail ironically makes the painting somewhat warm and inviting, even though it is shown in the harsh winter season.
"Ships in harbor" by Robert Salmon encompasses a rather Heroic image. The boats, associated with a long journey, demonstrate the energy and effort required to move to achieve a certain goal. The men on the right, dressed in traditional clothing, symbolize an arrival.
Martin Johnson Heade uses luminism as a key element in "Florida Sunrise." This scene demonstrates a nostalgia for nature prior to industrialization, and remains a notable piece in the history of American Art.
Lilly Martin Spencer's portrait of a certain "Mrs. Fithian" (1869) contains several pleasing qualities. Spencer's use of the different shades of blue make the woman stand out much more, allowing her to become the center of the image, and portraying her as all that much more beautiful.
George Catlin's portrayal of Native Americans is rather contrasting, and even offensive (depending on the perspective). A traditional Native American ensemble is much more bright and "radical" in comparison to a colonists' dark and conservative uniform.
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