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American Art Museum
Transcript of American Art Museum
American Art Museum
Star Spangled Banner
Most people recognize
the Star Spangled Banner as the National Anthem for the United States, but most people don't realize that the Star Spangled Banner's tune actually came from an English drinking song:
American literature became a popular and celebrated art. Famous authors like James Fentimore and Henry Longfellow, the first published poet in America, helped spread literature throughout American culture.
Washington Irving was a famous novelist. He was the first to achieve literary fame. His novels, The Legend of Sleepy Hallow and Rip Van Winkle helped the popularity of literature spread throughout the American culture.
James Fentimore was the nation's first novelist. Some of his novels include
The Last of the Mohicans
. His story,
became famous because of America's interest with settling on frontiers. It also helped spread the idea of being a frontiersman.
The song "America" was written in 1832
Samuel Francis Smith. The song is sung
to the British tune, "God Save the King".
"America" was written around the time where there was a large demand for popular songs written by American composers. The video above is an example of "America".
Born August 17, 1786 in Green County Tennessee, Davy Crockett was an admired American icon. He worked as an American Congressman and was a frontiersman. He had several novels published about him which many people liked because they thought that being a frontiersman was the American dream. Though his stories were very popular, a number of people believed his tales to be false.
Early American Music
In early America, music was very popular. A variety of styles was played throughout the different regions of the new country. In the North, people mostly played classical music and Old English songs that they often changed into new songs by rewriting the lyrics. In the South, people played more informal music like spirituals, folk songs, and minstrel shows. In the West, people played another type of informal music called "Bluegrass".
Classical music was played mostly in the northern regions of America. The most popular music was usually songs from Europe, such as minuets, waltzes, and mazurkas.
Early American Dance
Just like music, dance styles varied throughout the different regions of America. In the North, people danced Cotillions ( formal ballroom dances with French origins). In the South and the West, square dances were very common.
Instruments in the early American times included:
organs, bassoons, oboes, clarinets, flutes, cellos, viola da gambas, harpsichord, trumpets, drums, trombones, and french horns. Men and women played separate instruments. Men played a variety of instruments, the most popular being types of flutes and violins/fiddles. Women mostly played the harpsichord and the English guitar which has 10 strings.
The harpsichord was developed in Europe around the 14th or15th century. It has a similarity to a modern-day grand piano but it is thinner and longer. Another difference is that the strings are plucked rather than hit with a mallet like the modern-day piano, or piano forte. The harpsichord usually has two keyboards allowing a change in volumes.
The English guitar has a similarity to the citern. It has a teardrop shaped body and 10 strings. the English guitar is tuned to an open C major chord which makes it easier to play well at a quick pace.
People in the South played and listened to two main groups of music: spirituals and folk music.
Slaves in the south often entertained themselves by creating spirituals. Spirituals were a combination of church hymns and African musical elements.
Slaves also played upbeat songs that were accompanied by violins, drums, and banjos*. These songs were called folk music.
* Banjos were an African invention.
Like the South, people in the West played less formal music, such as Bluegrass, a type of folk music. Square dances were also very popular.
A Minstrel show is a show where white people dress up, paint their faces, and/or imitate African-American cultural music and dance as a form of entertainment. Blacks are not allowed to participate. These shows contributed to the reinforcement of racism and harsh stereotypes by making fun of slaves and African-Americans with racist lyrics and rude imitations. Despite their racist origin, minstrel shows helped bring about ragtag music, the banjo, and the banjo/string-band. They also had a big impact on musical theater in the 19th and 20th century.
This picture shows how white people would impersonate black people. They would put black paint over their faces with big lips and eyes which was a stereotype of African Americans.
Henry Longfellow was one of Americas first published poets to achieve success and popularity. His poems, The Song of Hiawatha, and Paul Revere's Ride were highly popular throughout America and are still known today. He helped contribute to America's literature.
The image to the left is an example of people playing Bluegrass.
Please use the arrow keys.
Early American Art
Thomas Cole & the Hudson River School
John James Audubon
Most artists in early America specialized in portraits. This was because photographs hadn't been invented yet. Many rich people had an artist paint them instead. For example, Gilbert Stuart painted a portrait of George Washington that is still shown on the one-dollar bill.
Portrait of George Washington, painted by Gilbert Stuart.
George Catlin, another well known artist of early America, is known for his portraits of Native American people living their everyday life. He is claimed to be the first person to paint Native-Americans. He traveled a lot to see the Indigenous People and eventually produced a collection of his artwork. However, he ended up selling his entire collection, which consisted of 607 pieces, to pay off a personal debt.
To the left are examples of George Catlin's work.
When people began to colonize in North America, they brought along many European artistic ideas. Non-professional artists often created types of folk art, and professional artists mainly painted portraits. By the 1800s, artists began to create art with a style that would soon be identified as "American art". Many artists began to paint vivid scenery. Artists like John James Audubon and George Catlin created their own style by painting things that most Americans did not include in their everyday lives.
John James Audubon is famous for his illustrations and study of birds. He contributed much to the scientific world and American art with his knowledge of birds. He would hunt birds and use them to study birds more closely and paint them. He used his knowledge of birds to publish Birds of America, which was sent out in issues over the years of 1827 and 1838. Birds of America included his illustrations of up to 400 different species of birds. Overall, he painted around 506 different species in his life.
Here are some of his paintings.
Many non-professional artists made folk art as a hobby. Most pieces of folk art are some type of decoration or utility. Men often made hunting decoys and weather vanes, while women stitched quilts. People also crafted signs, murals, flags, or other national symbols.
Thomas Cole is an Englishman known for his famous paintings of landscapes and founding the Hudson River School of Painting. His landscape paintings were usually of places like forests and mountains. Sometimes his paintings were a little fanciful. The Hudson River school was the first art school for painters who liked painting landscapes.
Thomas Cole landscape paintings.
Left: Folk art weather vane
Right: Folk art quilt, believed to be made in the 1850s.
Chopin Mazurka in F# Minor
Performed by Kieta Mueller (work in progress)
Drawing of Carolina Parakeet by August