Dates in Art History

Essay by dgbrit3 June 2005

download word file, 2 pages 3.8

Dates seem a little confusing between the textbook and the Web sites. The book says the National Academy of Design opened in 1826. The Web site says the school opened in 1926, but the academy was 1925. I guess after reading the book, I didn't realize the distinction between the school and the academy. I kind of thought they were the same.

I believe you have to seek out all sorts of sources when studying history, because with each source you gain a little more perspective. My father always said the one who wins the war writes the history book (I think he's bitter about that). After reading the book, I can say the one who fights the war has a painting commissioned. It's interesting that kings and congress used history painting to help mold the subjects of a democratic society. I was intrigued by Benjamin West's "The Death of General Wolfe." As Groseclose writes, the painting "confirmed, even as it sustained, the national cause (empire), (p.13)." Does the practice of history painting still exist in any way? Or do we rely on artists to represent current events in their own ways?

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) broke all the rules of a prudish Puritan society when he removed the loin cloth from a live model in a class mixed with men and women in 1886. Of course he was fired, and the book gives a couple of reasons why he was treated so harshly by his fellow academicians. The most interesting is that it was actually the men who were more frightened than the women about the revelation of a man's penis, because "the one who looks holds the power over one who is looked at." Hmm. This is certainly not discussed on the Web site, but would probably...