Sunday, 4 November 2012

19th Century painting.

This is a painting from Robert S. Duncanson, an African-American artist who was described in the mid 1860's as 'the greatest landscape painter in the west'. The painting is titled: 'Land of the lotus Eaters', and was painted between the years 1860-1861.

The painting depicts the landscape of America further west than the original settlements along the east coast. It shows a mountainous region, possible showing the Rocky mountains in the distance. The surrounding hilly country shows the viewer of a different landscape to what they have seen in the more eastern regions of America. It gives a sense of wonder, that a land can hold such enormous, natural wonders in a land that they do not know. The picture also shows vegetation and trees around these hills, giving the impression of fertility; that the land can be used to set up farms, in order to provide people with their own source of sustenance.

The main body of the painting is devoted to a river, and a lagoon of some sort. The flowing water gives a sense of peace and tranquility to the viewer, something which they may not be used to, coming from the  bustling and busy ports over to the east. It again shows that the land is fertile, and would be a good place for individuals or family looking to start a new life somewhere that has land that can be used to procure a harvest for them and their family.

Along both sides of the river are two bodies of people. They appear to be native Americans on either side of the river. Although it is difficult to tell what they are actually doing (swimming? to the other side), I have an inclination to what this could show about America during this time (hidden idea). The native Americans appear to be moving from the right side of the river to the left. I believe this relates to the fact that more settlers from the east coast of America are beginning to move west, towards the majority of the land of the native American's. It's almost as if the settlers moving across the land from east to west, are forcing the native Americans to move out from their home, as shown in the painting, as running away from the oncoming number of settlers attempting to migrate out west.

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