Fine Arts | American ARt to 1860 (Undergraduate AND Graduate section)
A445 | 25498 | Burns


For American artists at the time of the Revolution and independence
from England, the question of what would, or should be the art of
the new nation was a question of immense importance.  What should
painters paint, and sculptors carve?  How should artists be
trained?  How could they survive in a pragmatic culture that
regarded art as an unnecessary luxury? Should American culture turn
toward or away from the cultural heritage and authority of Europe?
What sort of man or woman should an artist be: a scientist, a poet,
an explorer, an entrepreneur, a gentleman, a rebel?  What styles,
subjects, and meanings would constitute a genuine American art, and
how could American national identity be defined through visual and
material media? Should artists confront, ignore, or whitewash
America’s grievous social ills and fierce political conflicts?

	This course explores the many ways in which artists and
their audiences addressed and responded to such questions.  Topics
include: portraits and self-fashioning; heroes and history; the art
of expansion and encounter; "America the Beautiful" on canvas;
looking for the "typical American"; domesticity and its
discontents.

Classes will combine lecture with discussion; course work includes
assigned readings, quizzes, response papers and other forms of
writing.