Early Colonial and American Art Comin’ Atcha Hot!

Portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart
Portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart
Captain- Lieutenant John Larrabee By Joseph Badger

When thinking about the foundation of our country one thinks of the milestones in the pathway to freedom and democracy; one does not usually think about the art of the time period. Ah, but that is why I am here! To enlighten you about the creative America! As we have read in our textbook art, in general, was not a very popular hobby, colonists were too caught up with their fight to freedom. Yet, a handful of artists have wriggled their way through the nooks and crannies of Early America.

Early American artworks consist mainly of painting, sculpture and printmaking. An example of this that we have viewed in class was the image that Paul Revere depicted of what he called the Boston Massacre. Art was an effective way to inform the public and portray your bias views in an expressive way. Many paintings of the time were portraits, landscapes and still lives. Art historians out there know that early artists always tried to make everything look as real as possible either to capture a specific moment or to study and observe the subjects that were being copied down onto a canvas. An example of this would be a portrait of Captain Lieutenant John Larrabee, created in about 1750 by an artist named Joseph Badger(image displayed above). Another example is the artist Gilbert Stuart from Rhode Island, who created a very famous portrait of George Washington (image displayed above). Stuart is also considered to be one of the most renounced portrait painters of the time.

To move away from the painting aspect of early colonial art …

Once the United Sates was formed, an art history era, known as the Federal era took place. This movement recognizes “the early development of the national government.” ( The styles of houses and furniture that were used in this era were heavily influenced by “Neoclassical designs.” The Neoclassical period took place in Europe and greatly emphasized “harmony, simplicity and proportion.” To go back even further, the origin of Neoclassicism starts with the early Greeks and Romans. The Neoclassical designs were very popular in Britain, no wonder they became popular in the United States, we can’t seem to shake our oppressors. No matter how hard we try we will always be influenced by them, even if it is just through artistic eras. The “interpretation of American Neoclassicism differed from one Atlantic coast city to the next, it typically drew from common sources.” ( Meaning that the same art movement differed from city to city, yet there was a Scottish architect who introduced these architectural designs. His name is Robert Adam.

The different type of artworks found from different eras tell a lot about a civilization and an individual. It can show expression, influences and culture. Early American art also helped our country to advance creatively as well as politically, economically and socially. Without early artists and art, the world of art would not continue to be innovated. Art makes the world less drab.

Works Cited:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s