Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painters’ Eyes
When you think of the American Revolution, images immediately appear – scenes of battles, portraits of the Founding Fathers, the solemn moment of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. These images are so well-known they are now part of the national consciousness – but where did they come from? This wonderful book introduces you to five great artists: Charles Peale, John Copley, Benjamin West, John Trumbell, and Gilbert Stuart.
This is a new perspective on the Revolution, and it’s a refreshing one. These men worked in very different capacities. Some painted portraits; others, battles. West, though a staunch American patriot, was a great friend of King George III and held the delicate position of official painter to the English court. Their experiences illuminate the various currents that moved through political and popular circles throughout the war and during the post-war period. It is a great history, told with perception. But the best part of the book is the beautiful analysis of the great paintings; they are scrutinized, their content, symbolism, and public reception skillfully detailed. These artists had enormous impact on the way we understand the United States’s birth; their vision has shaped our collective memory.
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