Art is a collection of different human events and the results of those events. This project emphasizes on the paintings done by different artists in America and what the artists had in mind during the time when they did these paintings. The paintings are found in the statutory hall. There are varied emotions depicted by the artists that define the history of America before independence. These paintings are of much importance even to the current generation and help one to understand better the history of America by just having a look at the images. These places the images in their immediate context when all they took place centuries ago. In the ensuing discussion, specific painting from specified artists is deliberated on what circumstance the images portray and the feelings that they evoke to the people in given context. Further, the ability of the artist to drive the message to anyone evaluating the painting is considered and a description as to whether they are successful in constructing a clear connection between the artwork and the actual context of the happening.
Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, Artist: John Trumbull
The artist intends to depict the events surrounding the surrendering of British Army to culminate the Revolutionary War. The event took place in 1781, at Yorktown, Virginia. The image tends to arouse some sense of victory for the American Army, which is portrayed to have conquered the British Army, though with the help of the French Soldiers2. This is a show of triumph as they come together to accept the surrendering of the British thus end the warfare. Additionally, it signifies the need for the two sides that previously had divergent viewpoint to come together and embrace each other for a productive coexistence. At the background, the dark clouds being a sign of the warfare reminds the participants of where they have come from, the battlefield. The image’s commissioning took place in 1820, and hanged on 1828 upon completion. The image was painted just after the end of the Revolutionary War as people tried to recollect the happening in their dark history. In the image, the British soldiers are standing in between the French and American soldiers who are allies, as a show of submission. Undoubtedly, the artist achieves in depicting the events as portrayed in the image in their contextual frame that could be apprehended by anyone evaluating the image or a person assessing the events surrounding the termination of the Revolutionary War. Clearly, the context of the information presented in the image echoes well with the circumstance surrounding the activities that led to the end of the warfare.
General George Washington Resigning His Commission, Artist: John Trumbull
In the image, the artist is trying to describe that state of events as at December 23, 1783, when the then Continental Army Commander-in –Chief, George Washington, was handing over his powers. This was a significant moment in the history of America given that the nation was shifting from military rule to civilian governance3. The depiction illustrates a vital principle towards the establishment of democracy in America. In the image, the unoccupied chair covered with a cloak implies that Washington has officially resigned from exercising power through a military style. The image is trying to evoke a sense of freedom and perception of self-rule. That is to say, the citizens acquire a sense of ownership of their country and have the final decision to decide on how they want to be governed2. The commissioning and hanging of the image took place in 1824 as the citizens worked to adopt democratic rule3. Owing to the fact that this was a time when America was constructing and embracing the aspect of democracy, the image successfully manages to illustrate the happenings as at that time. For instance, the unoccupied chair wrapped with a cloak equivocally illustrates abandonment in the style of governance and willingness for those in power to embrace the newfangled model of leadership. Arguably, the artwork resonates well with the context of the events that the image attempts to depict. Anyone looking at the pictorial representation could be in position to create a mental imagery of some sort of change of guard concerning leadership.
Declaration of Independence, Artist: John Trumbull
The artist is attempting to give a description of the events that took place during the presentation of the Declaration of Independence draft to the Continental Congress. In the image, the artist exposes the anticipation and anxiety that comes with the adoption of the declaration seen in the lighted faces of the participants all facing the table. There is a clear connection between the artwork’s content and the context of the except for the fact that one of the participants seems to be stepping on the legs of a common enemy. It is not clear whether the artist intended it to be this way, since the opinion of many scholars differ. However, all the participants are calm, perhaps, the artist’s intention. The image’s commissioning and hanging took place in 1817, during the revolutionary epoch. Undoubtedly, at that time, America was undergoing a revolutionary war to end the colonial supremacy. The artist manages to present the events that were taking place during the signing of the draft document. Any individual evaluating the image could be in a position to tell that match in contextual exemplification of the events that the artist endeavors to illustrate. Some individuals can be seen presenting the document while there is some receiving them for signing. Additionally, there are those who are attesting to the signing of the document as can be appraised from the many individuals seated and looking on to the front table4.
Baptism of Pocahontas, Artist: John Gadsby Chapman
In the image, the artist is attempting to portray the events taking place at a baptismal ceremony of Chief Powhatan daughter, Pocahontas. The event took place at an Anglican Church at Jamestown, Virginia around 1613 or 1614. She renamed Rebecca, and is assumed as the first native converted to Christian-hood. Subsequently, she was married to John Rolfe. The baptismal ceremony and her marriage were important in constructing a harmonious coexistence between the tribes of Tidewater and their colonialists. The image illustrates varied feelings to the individual’s involved, family members, and the society in which they lived. The colonialist are seem to be satisfied with the undertakings. The family members of Pocahontas seem not to be happy with the rite. The uncle and the brother seemed dissatisfied with the event as they turn their faces from the stage. However, the sister appears to be contented with the occurrence since she can afford to look on to the happenings. The commissioning and hanging of the image took place in 1837, in the wake of colonialism. With widespread excesses of the colonialists, the native portray some sense of dissatisfaction for one of their own to be converted to Christianity and get married to an individual from the colonialist’s faction. From the image, the appearance of the family members and those from Rolfe’s side, shape the message that the image is depicting. Arguably, the artist manages to depict the atmosphere of events taking place as at the time of the ceremony. Inasmuch as the artwork does not out rightly, show the context in which the message in the image represents, a thorough synthesis helps bring out the contextual emotional state.
John Hanson, State: Maryland
Born in 1715, John Hanson was vocal in the upbringing of troops and giving arms to the military. He assisted in solving land matters in the state by enabling the confirmation of articlesof confederation. Under his tenure as the assembly president in the United States, he is remembered for the establishment of a consular service, chartering of a national bank, introduction of a post office unit, adoption of an even coinage system. He also signed an agreement with Holland upholding the acknowledgement of the United States to Holland for a loan. John Hanson is of much importance to Maryland State for it is through him that the state became independent by ensuring that the articles of confederation were ratified. His signing of the document is so historical because it is only Maryland that had not ratified the article. His facilitation was of much consequence and importance not only to Maryland but also to the United States as whole as it enabled them to gain independence since they had already signed the documents. These selfless contributions that John Hanson made to the state makes him the best choice to represent the state and the fact that he was the first president of the congress in the united states is of much historical importance.
Charles carol, State: Maryland
Born in 1737, Carol is regarded as a states-man and an influential man in the signing of the declaration of independence. He went against the catholic will, entered into politics, became a strong voice in the struggle for independence, and advocated for resistance towards the British rule. He was so much outspoken over the increase of legal fees to the protestant clergy and the state officers. Carol was opposed to slavery. He had slaves working for him and his family but went ahead to introduce a bill in the senate to help in the abolition of slavery. Carol also assisted in the release of black Americans from slavery to live free lives in their African states. He was also the first man to seat in the first United States senate from Maryland. The braveness of carol to go against the catholic church and enter into politics so as to fight for the common good of the people of Maryland. Additionally, he became able to be so much outspoken to all evils happening in the state, putting him in a position that deserves to be remembered by all ages thus the placement of his statue is so ideal and reflects a true statesman that went an extra mile to ensure that Maryland, as a state, was fit to live in and free from the British Colonizers.
Allen, William C. History of the United States Capitol: a chronicle of design, construction, and politics. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001.
Novak, Barbara. American painting of the nineteenth century realism, idealism, and the American experience. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.