The traditional, academic hierarchy of painting genres is as follows: history paintings, portraits, genre paintings (everyday life), landscapes, and, finally, still-life paintings.
Regarding the first of these, history paintings, who were the foremost American followers of this so-called Grand Manner? How were their works similar? How were they different? What were the themes and sources for these works? For what reason(s) were history paintings so highly regarded—not just in America but in Europe as well—or, put another way, what did they offer to viewers? Why, in your opinion, would scenes of historical and religious significance—though oftentimes relating to foreign cultures and distant lands—resonate with a burgeoning American society seeking independence, self-definition, and a unique cultural identity? And, finally, what can be said about the distinctly American tendency to excavate “modern” history for viable and suitable subjects?
2 PARAGRAPHS MIN!
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