What Is So Important In Art For Humanity?

The period that has started in the United States after the Civil War is called the Gilded Age. Regarding the background for the art development in that time, it is essential to emphasize that the main task of the government and society was to rebuild the economic and political infrastructure and unite the nation. Therefore, the period is marked by the high economic development of the country. This made the air be full of money, nothing but money. According to custom interview essay writing that was carried out art plays a crucial role in our life. This quotation of Mark Twain can the most properly explain not only the name of age, but the atmosphere prevailing all around the United States since the middle of the nineteenth century till the beginning of the twentieth century.

The industrialization of the country, the flow of the immigrants who wanted to earn decent wages and some other economic and social factors have divided the country into several segments that let some financiers and industrialists show up among others and form the upper class that got much more benefits than others. Therefore, their needs to decorate the mansions, libraries and museums, and get the portraits or other paintings gave work to the artists and architects. The exterior and interior design of the mansions can show not only the values and aspirations of the upper class but also the attitude of the rich toward the poor. Firstly, it is important to emphasize that each party felt the difference between each other and their classes in real life as even the clothes were the indicators of being a servant. The tendency to divide these different classes was reflected in the house planning. The mansions were constructed in a way that servants were visible only when necessary. Their rooms usually situated on the lower floors. A nice example is Thomas Jefferson’s house, Cornelius Vanderbilt’s mansion designed by George B. Post. Generally, the architecture and design of the second half of the nineteenth century are examples of the revivalist styles that comprised Rococo, Gothic and Renaissance and can be called an “energetic laisser-faire”. In such a way, the triumph and permissiveness of the nation was reflected in a variety of architectural combinations. One should point out Olana that was designed by Calvert Vaux and painted by Frederic Edwin Church as the most eclectic residences of the period. Carson’s house designed by Newsom brothers is an example of the upper-class’ obsession with various ornaments, silhouettes, monuments and other decorations. The tendency to emphasize the richness could be observed from both interior and exterior parts of the buildings. The rooms were massively decorated in different styles. Such design of the mansion hints that the rich tried to enjoy the money as much as possible and could let themselves anything they wanted. At the same time, such abundance of things obviously hardened the work of the servants as they had to keep it in a pristine order. Poor women were busy from dawn to dusk sweeping, dusting, washing and polishing. The interior decorations of the mansions also included a great number of portraits. Many American artists returned from Europe at that time. Therefore, numerous masterpieces were created by Cox, Merritt, Chase, Dewing, Thayer and others. The motives of the male heroes and their virtues, female beauty were the main themes of the paintings. It was essential to pay attention to the details. The pictures mostly depicted those females, who were not engaged in any meaningful activity and wore the classical garb. Therefore, referring to civilization and culture, the paintings reflected much on the upper-class lifestyles. The age resembled something gilded for it seemed to be the time of happy rich people, but in reality it was based on poor Americans and immigrants who served them.

At the same time, there is no surprise that these “Robber Barons” were not favorable to the majority of the American population, which raised the motive of “the last stand” challenging such distribution of the national wealth. The life of the workers was complicated before the Civil War. However, for many reasons, it stayed difficult afterwards. Industrialization played a great role in society. The first train appeared; Morse invented the telegraph; gaslight became available; automatic reapers and sewing machines were created. One cannot neglect the influence of photography in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as it became very popular. However, these technological innovations were accessible only to the rich middle- or upper-class representatives. For the average workers, all the innovations meant lack of safety at the places of production and unemployment. Therefore, it only intensified the contrast between the rich and the poor. The motives of the industrial labor can be met in the paintings of Winslow Homer. For instance, The Old Mill (The Morning Bell) depicts the factory, the nature and the well-dressed upper-class lady in contrast to the poor workers who stand in the group. The life of the lower class was also depicted in such paintings as Ironworkers’ Noontime by Thomas Anschutz. In his attempts to discover the balance of combination of poses, one can find the naturalistic approach that helps the average person follow the isolation of a building that is a symbol of industrialization from the lower class. The motive of the child labor can be also mentioned as the artist has presented not only the adult men, but also boys in the picture. The same idea was reflected in The Strike by Koehler and Homer’s Prisoners from the Front. Therefore, the realistic approach of the above mentioned paintings defines their dramatic mood.

The monuments to justice and liberty are the important reminders of the workers who tried to assert their rights. Such monuments as The Police Monument and Haymarket Martyrs raised in Chicago commemorate the participants of the strike held near Haymarket Square on May 4, 1886 and should be marked out as the important reflections of the tragedies of the Gilded Age. Another highly symbolic monument of the time that cannot be neglected is The Statue of Liberty by August Bartholdi. Although it was presented by France to commemorate the revolution of 1776 and anticipation of future economic ties, it has become the symbol of the US well-known till nowadays.

The issues of race and religion also played a great role in the life of Americans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Therefore, one can trace how they were reflected in the work of artists of that time. For instance, Ida Wells and Frederick Douglas condemned segregation and racial stereotypes that were so common in the society. A painter Henry Ossawa Tanner pointed out the achievements of African Americans and the significance of their work. The religious motive saying that all people were created equal also prevails in his works and is predetermined by the racial segregation and the class division in the society. The evidences for that are such works as The Banjo Lesson and Daniel in the Lions’ Den.

Gender division of labor led to the creation of increasing associations of women that contributed to the development of realism in art and culture. Men were depicted as those who occupied the economics while women presented the ideal world of aesthetics. The complex role of women was presented in various pieces of art. Among such, one should emphasize a widely popular sculpture The Greek Slave by Hiram Powers. In this creation, he presented how difficult it is to be both powerful and powerless, pure and seductive, moral guardians of the home yet ruled by emotions.

If one pays attention to the motives presented in the poetry of Whitman and Sandburg, he can easily notice that the motives that are met in the poetry, prose, paintings, and sculptures always intertwine. The life of the society is closely connected with the work of the poet or any other artist. As a result, the topics of spiritual ideals of people were mostly predetermined by the situation in the country before, during and after the Civil War. However, each artist has his own views on what is happening. Therefore, the perception of Whitman and Sandburg can be considered as more pessimistic than that of their contemporaries. However, the revolutionary motives and the unjust position of the lower class are those ideas that thread through all the works of the Gilded Age.

Started by Danielle Watson at April 23, 2020 - 6:49 AM