William Sidney Mount Paintings

During the mid-nineteenth century, the United States was undergoing many cultural changes.Towns were becoming cities, mass production was becoming prevalent, and many variations of people were coming to live.This made for major changes in social structure.There seemed to be a high class, the "elites", and the lower class.However, this spawned a need for changes in this structure, something to bridge the gap.William Sidney Mount, captured this bridge of sorts in his paintings.His depictions of American life with subjects of an elite status intermingled with subjects of a lower class were cause of his praise as "educator and moral critic, propounding freedom by individual example and arguing through his art for the establishment of a new order based on an emerging middle-class consciousness or ideology (Oedel, Gernes, 129)."Mount's use of basic artistic techniques made it easy for viewers to relate and understand the meanings in his works.His works were viewed by the American public as "deceptively elementary. . . original, comprehensible, nationalistic, forceful, and timely (Oedel, Gernes, 128)."
Mount bridged the gap masterfully in nearly all of his works, employing elements of the two predominant social classes.He did so in the work that he is most famous for, "The Painter's Triumph," which he painted in 1838, at the age of 31.The painting shows a painter triumphantly showing his piece to a farmer, both men indicative of their respective social classes.The farmer has a whip in his hand, and is hutched over as if in awe.The painting shows that the farmer "has started from repose, both physical and intellectual, having risen from his chair to lean forward in attention (Oedel, Gernes, 137)."The painter, meanwhile, has his arms open, as a sign of enthusiasm."The greater the extension of the arms. . . the more they express. . .energy of sentim…


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