Hudson River School

By: Simrun Saini

American Artists During the Antebellum Period

The most important and popular American paintings of the first half of the nineteenth century(known as the Antebellum period) were painted to capture the wonder of the nation's landscape. American artists, unlike the Europeans did not favor soft painted scenes of cultivated countrysides but rather wanted to paint the strong and reckless power of nature by portraying some of the nation's wildest and awe inspiring scenes. These paintings evoked awe, wonderment, and fear among the viewer of the magnificence of nature.
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The Creation of an American Identity Through the Art of the Antebellum Period

The first great school of American painters emerged in New York known as the Hudson River School. They first paintings were largely focused around the spectacular passages of the unsettled Hudson Valley. They considered nature, more than civilization, the best source of wisdom and spiritual fulfillment. This helped create an American identity different from Europe where the artists tended to paint cultivated landscapes. By painting the Hudson Valley, they seemed to declare that in America, unlike in Europe, “wild nature” still existed and therefore America was a nation of greater promise than the exhausted lands of the Old World. There was also a sense of remembrance in many of the Hudson River paintings as an effort to preserve and cherish a kind of nature that many Americans feared was fast disappearing.
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Artists who Followed Westward Expansion

In later years, some of these artists traveled farther west, in search of more profound spiritual experiences through nature. They were faced with awe inspiring landscapes that needed to be painted. Their canvases of of the great natural wonders such as the Yosemite Valley, Yellowstone, and the Rocky Mountains created passion and identity among the American people. Some of the most famous of their paintings traveled around the country attracting crowds and creating an American identity.

Albert Bierstadt

He was originally a part of the Hudson River School. Later, he traveled, along with other passionate artists, to the west to paint portraits of awe inspiring landscapes such as Yosemite Valley, Yellowstone, and the Rocky Mountains. His paintings created passion and identity among the American people. Some of the most famous of his paintings traveled around the country attracting crowds and creating an American identity. He considered nature, more than civilization, the best source of wisdom and spiritual fulfillment. This helped create an American identity different from Europe where the artists tended to paint cultivated landscapes. His paintings seemed to declare that in America, unlike in Europe, “wild nature” still existed and therefore America was a nation of greater promise than the exhausted lands of the Old World. By creating paintings of the vast nature of the American landscape, his paintings managed to demonstrate to the American people that there was land waiting to be explored and that although so much had already been explored by the American people there were sights of nature in their very own country waiting to be discovered and appreciated. His paintings created a vision of American hope, prosperity, and most important of all wonder of the land of their country.


His Artistic Style Along with how my Artwork Shows his Style

Albert Bierstadt’s artistic style is the creation of natural landscapes that represent western expansion. His style is also to represent different lightings in a piece. My art shows his style because I created a piece that represents the Rocky Mountain he saw while exploring westward expansion and I also attempted to show the style of lighting he used in his paintings. I used a cold and bright light in my artwork to represent this artist's style.

My Artwork

My artwork demonstrates the development of an American identity because similar to Albert Bierstadt's art my painting identifies an American identity different from Europe where the artists tended to paint cultivated landscapes. His paintings seemed to declare that in America, unlike in Europe, “wild nature” still existed and therefore America was a nation of greater promise than the exhausted lands of the Old World. By creating a painting of the vast nature of the American landscape, my painting manages to demonstrate that there was land waiting to be explored and that although so much had already been explored by the American people there were sights of nature in their very own country waiting to be discovered and appreciated. His paintings created a vision of American hope, prosperity, and most important of all wonder of the land of their country and I believe that my painting painted in his style does that as well.

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Citations

“Chapter 12.” McGraw-Hill Connect, connect.mheducation.com/connect/hmEBook.do?setTab=sectionTabs. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2017.


Watts, Tim. "American Art." American History, ABC-CLIO, 2017, americanhistory.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/379984. Accessed 28 Oct. 2017. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2017.