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THE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE Artistic Expressions in Antebellum America.

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Presentation on theme: "THE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE Artistic Expressions in Antebellum America."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE Artistic Expressions in Antebellum America

2 OVERVIEW American culture came into its own An artistic movement in America lasting from c. 1830-1880 Marked by an emerging fascination with the American wilderness American artists exert their independence from Europe and traditional artistic expressions to forge new styles and techniques

3 THE WORLD OF LETTERS: TRANSCENDENTALISM Ultimate truth is found by going beyond/above normal human experience through use of intuitive thought Oneness with natural world leads one to spiritual or ideal world Spontaneous feelings and intuition, not intellectual or rational mind, should be followed Self-reliance & individualism overrule authority, custom and tradition New England-centered movement; predominantly Massachusetts


5 RALPH WALDO EMERSON One of the most outspoken and influential transcendentalist writers Emphasized the need for American literature and education to be independent from European influence An strong abolitionist, much of his work had anti- slavery undertones Felt the role of government should be limited with more emphasis placed on the individual

6 HENRY DAVID THOREAU Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), a contemporary of Emerson with much influence of his own Politically outspoken; an ardent abolitionist "Civil Disobedience" is best known work; insists individuals must act based on morality, not legality Gave many public lectures condemning slavery in an effort to convince both the public and politicians of the immorality of the institution


8 MARGARET FULLER One of America's first feminists, as well as a writer, poet, editor and orator A strong abolitionist Likened the abolitionist cause to the emerging feminist movement Found the Transcendentalist movement particularly appealing to the feminist cause

9 ANTI- TRANSCENDENTALISTS Dark Romantics Melville, Hawthorne, Poe Explored… Guilt associated with Puritan ancestry Conflicts between good and evil in humans Psychological effects of sin, guilt, madness and derangement Believed in symbolism in nature, but did not see nature as necessarily good

10 THE WORLD OF PAINTING: THE HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL The first school of American art Sought a liberated and self-determining artistic style separate from European traditionalism Influenced by the Transcendentalist literature movement Focused on nature; known primarily for epic landscape paintings which depict the vast American wilderness Sought to stir emotions by reproducing the power & beauty of nature

11 CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL Paint grand, scenic vistas. Humans are an insignificant [even non-existent] part of the picture. Experiment with affects of light on water and sky. Symbol of the school a broken tree stump


13 ISSUES/THEMES Transcendentalist thinking. Westward expansion. American nationalism --> What is America? Creation of a national mythology Racism and Native Americans. Concern for political extremism. The price paid for progress and the advances of civilization.

14 THOMAS COLE Painter and writer Landscape painter focusing largely on the contrast of nature and civilization Expounds in his writings the major differences between the European and American wildernesses, largely the lack of open spaces mainly differentiate the two Concerned with the rise of development


16 ASHER B. DURAND Contemporary of Cole's Landscape painter in the same vein as Cole Concerned with development and the risk it played on the virtually untouched West Durand's Kindred Spirits became the epic piece of the Hudson River School movement


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