Lecture: Idylls of the Imagination: American Landscape Painting and the Shape of Memory
Idylls of the Imagination: American Landscape Painting and the Shape of Memory
Saturday, February 22, 2020 | 2:00 PM | Wooden Boat School Classroom
$5/person | HRMM Members FREE
Over the last two centuries, the image of the American landscape has been emblazoned in our minds as integral to our national identity. In the 19th century, notions of ‘Manifest Destiny’ were inextricably linked to our divinely-ordained migration across prairies and mountains, westward to the Pacific. But landscape painting was not always viewed as a legitimate form of the painterly arts; as it was largely de-valued in the earliest period of our emergence on the world stage. This presentation will trace the history of landscape painting as it slowly evolved in the United States—arising first as a decorative art, to then become the central defining element in our growing sense of national identity. Later, the role of war, shifting cultural norms and changing tastes may have spelled the end to the golden era of landscape painting, best seen in the ‘Hudson River School’ era of the 1820-60s. The arrival of the 20th century’s Modern era only further catalyzed a re-examination of landscape painting and its place in national consciousness. This program supports the Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibit, Water/Ways.
Richard Friswell, M.Ed., M.Phil. is a Wesleyan University Visiting Scholar and Director of the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning (WILL), a multi-disciplinary, non-degree program of course offerings for the adult community. He is publisher and managing editor of ARTES, an international fine arts e-magazine, available online since 2009. In addition to over four-hundred online articles on topics related to fine art, architecture and design, his publications include a collection of essays, Balancing Act: Postcards from the Edge of Risk and Reward (2016), and most recently, Hudson River Chronicles: In Search of the Splendid & Sublime in America’s ‘First’ River (Hammonasset House Books, 2019). He lectures widely on topics of cultural history in the modern era at museums, academic settings and other community venues.
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