Sunday, November 4, 2012

A 19th Century photograph of the American Landscape

Here is an painting called 'The Oregon Trail' which was painted by Albert Bierstadt in 1869. 
Albert Bierstadt travelled west to find inspiration in his work. He accompanied a party into surveying a new waggon route. They were also charged with negotiating with the Native Americans as the new route would affect them. 

In the background very faintly you can see Native Americans in there natural habitat. I believe that this picture was painted to show the 'amazing scenes' and natural beauty of west and encourage people to travel west and encourage western expansion. We can see this in the emphasis and the over exaggeration in the mountains and how much detail we can see in them, also in the detail in the trees makes the place even more appealing to settle there however the fact that Bierstadt has also painted the Natives in background could also show and portray a sense of danger to others, I also think that the natives were painted faintly in the background to show how the natives are slowly fading away and show the power and development of the people and other settlements around them.
On another note, at the bottom of the painting shows live animals grazing the land which look healthy and fat which again portrays the area full of food. Also in the painting we can see bones and a broken strove which can show previous unlucky travellers. 
Finally the picture, I think looks stereotypical of emigrating frontiersman, though as the artist said he was there, it is hard to question the painting but there has been some questioning of the authenticity of the panting as we can see wagons being used when in 1869 the transcontinental rail road was completed. 

source of information-

1 comment: