American Colonial Painters Essay Sample

Published: 2022-11-11
American Colonial Painters Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Arts America
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 551 words
5 min read

Benjamin West was an American painter of origin, oriented to paint historical, religious and mythological subjects that had a profound influence on the development of historical painting in Britain. He was a painter of George III (1772-1801) and one of the founders of the Royal Academy (1768), of which Sir Joshua Reynolds succeeded him in 1792 as president. As a young man, West demonstrated early artistic talent and was sent to Philadelphia in 1756 to study painting. At 20 years of age, he was a successful portrait painter in New York and in 1760, with the assistance of friends, he embarked for Italy, where neoclassicism was rapidly gaining ground. In the West, he visited most of the most important cities in Italy and in 1763 he went to London, where he set up as a portraitist. His subsequent patronage by George III and the guarantee of financial support of the crown, absolving him from the need to continue earning a living through portraiture. (The death of General Wolfe", c.1771), one of his best known and controversial works, has made a substantial concession to realism in his use of modern clothes rather than ancient drapery to depict a contemporary historical event within a classical composition. It was considered by many academics as an affront to the art of painting history, but in the end, it was a popular success and won Reynolds' approval.

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John Singleton Copley (1737-1815) is an American artist famous for his portraits of important figures in the colonies of New England. He learned the first art lessons from his stepfather Peter Pelham, an engraver and a miniaturist. In 1774 Copley moved to England, where he began to specialize in historical works often considered by critics lacking the immediacy characteristic of his first phase. In those years he stayed in Italy where he was influenced by neoclassicism. One of his best portraits is (Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Mifflin (Sarah Morris) , 1773)

Charles Willson Peale (Chestertown, April 15, 1741 - Philadelphia, February 22, 1827) was an American painter and watchmaker. In his life, before discovering painting, he was also a soldier and a naturalist. his fame is linked to the portraits of George Washington. One of his most famous paintings is (George Washington at Princeton, 1779)

Gilbert Charles Stuart, born Stewart (1755 - 1828), was an American painter, author of the official portraits of the first five presidents of the United States. His artistic training took place in London, and he was a pupil of Benjamin West, his fellow countryman: he concentrated on and become an expert as a portraitist meditating on the examples of Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds among others. His portrait of George Washington (George Washington, ca. 1800-05) is still reproduced on the dollar bills.

These four artists are extremely important in the history of America. The set the standards for portraits and paintings and they shaped the future of America (for example, the portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Charles is used in the dollar bills). It is possible that the achievements of many other American artists of their time would not have been possible were it not for the influence that these four artists had on them. When these American colonial painters died, they left a legacy not only of their strong historical works but many painters who were influenced by their works through the nineteenth and twentieth century.

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