Framing the New Republic: History Painting and American Cultural Politics, 1785-1826


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


McIntire Department of Art


Utilizing a variety of methodological approaches and interpretive strategies, this dissertation links seemingly unrelated history paintings by artists John Trumbull, Charles Willson Peale, Washington Allston, and John Vanderlyn to narrate the plurality of national debate forged between 1763 and 1826. Inclusions and omissions in political discourse reveal how social and political elites helped shape the ideological underpinnings of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century paintings. Embedded narratives of cultural production and reception recover partisan concerns over executive power and form early expressions of national identity. This dissertation provides new interpretations and will make significant contributions to a period of American art recently characterized as neglected.