Hello everyone! This past week I started a new online class, American Art History. Being that I have an Art History minor, this class will be fulfilling a required course for the minor. I was unsure of what to expect for a summer course and now with it being completely online I did not know what to expect. This class itself is pretty fast paced. We are assigned 1-2 chapters of reading along with 1-2 videos and a discussion post based on the readings and videos.
We first started off the week learning about Colonial Art and Neoclassicism. This style of art was developed as a Western cultural movement that took inspiration from ancient Greece and Rome. At the time, the New Republic in the America’s was weak, only its ideals were strong. Classicism gave the New Republic a strong connection to its past, even though this was a new concept. This set of readings focused on the founders of American architecture, especially Thomas Jefferson.
In 1767, Jefferson started to design his own house in the Virginia, this house would be called Monticello. The design of this house took approximately 40 years to construct. There were many details, both decorative and visual that Jefferson wanted to include in his home. Jefferson was so committed to the design he wanted that he suffered the consequences of being in debt for many years to achieve every detail he desired. I found his passion to construct a home catered to his desires to be inspiring. He continued to build and not be financially stable in order to construct a home that catered to his every convenience. Such as a clock that kept track of not only time but the days of the week. This clock was the first of its kind.
Another project that Jefferson worked on was the construction of the University of Virginia. This design is considered a masterpiece of its time, by many academics and architects. The campus itself is considered an “academic village.” It is built around a massive lawn that is open on one end. This was so knowledge could spread down through the lawn and pavilions to spread to the community. The library or “brain” is located in the middle of campus and has a rounded rooftop design. This design was drawn from the Pantheon and its dome top. Jefferson was inspired by classical art and architecture.
Jefferson wanted to upgrade the design of public buildings with inspiration drawn from ancient Rome. In 1785, Jefferson constructed a new statehouse in Richmond, Virginia. This was known as the Virginia State Capitol building. The front of this building feature many columns such as Doric, Ionic and Corinthian style. This was the first public building in the America’s that resembled a temple. There is a large statue of George Washington in the center of the building. This was done because in Roman Temple’s a God-like figure would normally be placed in the center. George Washington’s statue was choose because he the representation of a citizen and democracy in the America’s.