Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Today's elections in the United States

This is George Caleb Bingham's "Verdict of the People," part of a series of pre-Civil War paintings evoking the evolving American democracy. Clicking should give you a larger image, thanks to Humanities Web.

I was struck today by the thought that this depiction is rather Manichaean in its use of dark and light. For what that's worth.

1 comment:

  1. Bingham was a fascinating character. He developed an authentically American style of painting, including one definite masterpiece "Fur Traders Descending the Missouri"

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.people.virginia.edu/~hhk6s/images/bingham1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.people.virginia.edu/~hhk6s/bingham1.html&h=402&w=600&sz=49&hl=en&start=27&tbnid=G_g8c8K3VSqzFM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=135&prev=/images%3Fq%3DFur%2BTraders%2BDescending%2Bthe%2BMissouri%26start%3D20%26ndsp%3D20%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN

    He made numerous paintings that portrayed frontier political life, including "Stump Speaking, or, the County Canvass," (1853-54, "Canvassing for a Vote"(1851-52),and "The Country Election" (1851). These are priceless historical documents, as well as pleasing art.

    Unfortunately, after he studied in Europe, his original style was "corrected" to conform to the academic fashions of the day, and lost its magic.

    He was elected State Legislator in 1848, and eventually abandoned his art for a full time political career.

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