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Pyramid of the Sun
It is widely believed that native people migrated across what is now the Bering Strait about 10,000 years ago. Because of plentiful wild game, many groups continued to hunt and and were generally nomadic. Consequently, works by native peoples of the Americas often reflects the availability of necessary materials and its portability.
North American native peoples created images that derived from mythical stories and spiritual experiences. In the Pacific Northwest, images are derived from stories that define the people's cosmology. For instance, the story of Raven, a figure who shows up often in native American folklore, recounts how this trickster eventually delivers fire to Man. Among the Stoney peoples of central Canada, works of art are derived from visions that occur in a dream. It is widely believed that through these dreams one sees a work and is given the ability to make it rather than learning through some conscious knowledge process.
Mississipppian Culture dominated the central US. The Cahokia mounds near St. Louis and the local Angel Mounds are remnants of a civilization believed to be connected to a larger culture centered in Mexico. The native peoples of this region built large complexes and earthen mounds. Their artwork consisted of pottery, pipes, and other small artifacts
A significant non-nomadic civilization arose in Mexico around the same time as ancient Rome. The Mayan culture exerted broad influence on both Americas. The city of Teotihuacan was, in its time, the largest city in the world. here we find exceptional examples of architecture.
The Pyramids of the Sun and Moon are large structures reminiscent of Pyramids in Egypt and ziggurats of Mesopotamia. They do not appear to be burial places, but elevated places of worship. The city of Teotihuacan is built around these structures that are situated 35 miles northeast of Mexico City.
One other architectural site of note is the city of Macchu Picchu an Incan city built in the Andes mountains of Peru.
The Signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
EARLY COLONIAL AMERICA
In early Colonial America influences from Europe began to meld with native and African artistic influences to create interesting hybrids. As Catholicism was spread by Spanish and French missionaries. Artworks emerged which were composites of experiences from these three cultural backgrounds.
Influence in the Colonies of England came primarily from the English Royal Academy.
Charles Wilson Peale
As the slave trade increased in the Spanish and English colonies, greater artistic influence from Africa became integrated into the cultures. One god of West Africa, Ogun (the hard god), represented iron and mercilessness. Cultures also merged to create hybrid images and religions. The Voodoo religion of Haiti came from a merger of native, Catholic, and African religions. Individual artists of African descent began achieving measures of success shortly after the American Civil War. Artists like Henry Ossawa Tanner (the Banjo Lesson) and Jacob Lawrence depicted the unique experience of African Americans in the 19th and 20th Centuries.
|EARLY AMERICAN LANDSCAPE PAINTING
American landscape painting was heavily influenced by the Work of Constable and Bonington. These English landscape painters worked in the landscape. The American landscape, considered wild and untamed, was romanticized by Europeans who were influenced by the idea of purity in the untamed. It grew out of the myth of the noble savage put forth by J.J. Rousseau.
Hudson River School
The Hudson River School had artists such as Thomas Cole (Genesee Valley) and Asher Durand who revered the landscape.
Asher Durand believed that the landscape was such an integral part of American identity that he proclaimed that every American family should own a painting of the American landscape which should be hung above the family Bible. This was an expression of the idea of "purity" in the untamed wilderness of America. Kindred Spirits
George Caleb Bingham was a painter who painted the frontier and the people who lived there.
John James Audubon
The Flower Carrier
Echo of a Scream
The Making of a Motor * Mexican Muralist Movement * fresco painting * c. 1936 * Diego Rivera
The Mexican Revolution began in 1911 with the overthrow of the dictator Diaz. The Revolution continued for 20 years. During this time the Mexican Muralist Movement rose as an important part of the struggle.
The Mexican Muralists drew their images from ancient Olmec and Mayan imagery, worked primarily in fresco, and used populist and socialist imagery.
Diego Rivera -was the leading artist of the movement. The work glorified workers and advocated revolution over the wealthy and ruling classes of Mexico. His political ideas were strongly Marxist, but he did a number of murals in the U.S. during the Depression.
Night of the Rich, fresco, 1928, Mexico City
Allegory of California, mural, 1931, San Francisco
The Making of a Motor, fresco, c. 1936, Detroit
The Flower Carrier, oil and Tempera on Masonite, 1935Frida Kahlo
-was married to Diego Rivera and did a number of introspective and psychological self-portraits about her life.
David Alfaro Siqueiros
Other artists associated with the Movement were Orozco, O'Gorman, and O'Higgins.
The American Regionalist movement began in the late 1920's and continued through the Great Depression. Artists of this period relied heavily on government work programs. The most famous of these is the Works Projects Administration or WPA, created a variety of large scale projects and employed Americans throughout the years of the Great depression. Most projects were focused on the national infrastructure including, highways, railways, post offices, schools, etc. Many excellent examples of American Regionalist style can be found in 1930's era post offices and government buildings.
Painters from the time include Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, and John Stuart Curry.
Grant Wood's American Gothic, 1930, is considered a masterpiece of this era because of the way that it seems to depict the solemnity and hardness of farmers in the Midwestern United States. This painting reflects the sincerity and work ethic of the American spirit. The American regionalists, like the Luminists, were interested in creating an image of the American character during tough economic times.
Young Corn, 1931
Edward Hopper, who worked in the northeastern United States and Midwest, also looked to reinvent the American identity. His works depict architectural settings and a sense of loneliness. He also focused on the characteristics of light (a favorite of the Luminists).
Early Sunday Morning, 1930
Photographers of the same era, Lewis Hine and Dorothea Lang, were interested in reflecting the state of people in the harsh conditions of the Great Depression.
20th Century Canadians also looked to the landscape as an expression of national identity. The Group of Seven was devoted to portraying the harshness and stoic beauty of the Canadian wilderness. It helped to give a separate identity to Canada.
Others in the movement include: J. E. H. McDonald,Tom Thomson, Frederick Varley, A. Y. Jackson, Lawren Harris, Arthur Lismer, Frank Johnston, Franklin Carmichael, Lionel Fitzgerald, Edwin Holgate, A. J. Casson
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