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New World Visions: American Art and the Metropolitan Museum, Part 1 (1650-1840) - Currently Unavailable

Vincent Scully, Sterling Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, examines American art, architecture, and design from 1650 to 1914 and shows how the styles and forms that developed reflected the emerging American consciousness. Part 1 of two parts, covering 1650-1840, examines the evolution of the materialistic colonial craftsman's culture to the almost religious reverence of the open American landscape two hundred years later. Beginning with the American Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, Professor Scully shows architecture, sculpture, furniture, paintings, and period rooms, discussing early American room architecture (the Hart Room, dark and protective), furniture design (Brewster chair; examples of the William and Mary, Queen Anne, and Chippendale styles), paintings (Robert Feke, John Singleton Copley, Ralph Earl), and works in silver (Paul Revere, Daniel Van Voorhis). Then he explains that the postcolonial period favored a lighter, more delicate style, a heroic verticality expressed in portraits (by Charles Willson Peale, Gilbert Stuart, Rembrandt Peale, Hiram Powers, Emanuel Leutze), silver, architecture (classical revival), and furniture (Hepplewhite). In the 1830s-1850s, artists turned to landscape painting (Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand).

Curator's Comments: Vincent Scully offers a perceptive interpretation of how American history helped to shape its art. He discusses art works in relation to the temper of the times: a highlight is his analysis of Thomas Cole's The Course of Empire. An intelligent script, with excellent cinematography and lively pacing, make this an absorbing document for anyone interested in art, architecture, or history.

DATE: 1983

COUNTRY: United States

Director: Lorna Pegram; Richard Manichello; Bruce Nalepinski
Producer: Lorna Pegram
Executive Producer: George Page; Karl Katz
Producing Agency: WNET/Channel 13; Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with the BBC

58 minutes Color

History-United States

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