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John Gast - American Progress (Analysis, Interpretation)

John Gast - American Progress (Analysis, Interpretation)

 John Gast - American Progress
The painting "American Progress" by John Gast, created in 1872, shows the American settlers
exploring the "Wi

John Gast - American Progress (Analysis, Interpretation)

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Luise Hamsch

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11/12

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Analyse und Interpretation des Gemäldes "American Progress" von John Gast in Bezug auf das "Manifest Destiny" im Fach Englisch

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John Gast - American Progress The painting "American Progress" by John Gast, created in 1872, shows the American settlers exploring the "Wild West". The artwork is separated into two halves with a flying woman in the middle of it. She is only lightly dressed by wearing a white dress waving in the wind and covering only several parts of her body. The female has long blonde curly hair falling over her back and furthermore, a golden star is placed on top of her forehead. In her right arm, she holds a brown book whose title can only hardly be read - just the letters "scoo" and the word "book" can be observed; the rest of it is behind her breast. In her hands, she holds a black cable that seems to come from the landscape where it is a part of a power lines construction. The woman has her head pointed at the left edge of the painting. In the foreground of the composition, four people are to be seen, on of them riding on a horse and all four heading to the left side of the picture. A little behind them, two other men are occupied by farm work. A river separates them from the territory in the back. The...

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landscape in this part of the painting is characterized by a vivid nature - a deer and a bear on both sides can be remarked, as well as green grass and several trees. On the right side of the painting, it is noticeable that the ground is covered by green grass, and apart from the power lines, three trains, a horse-drawn carriage and even a port in the right back can be seen. On the other hand, the left part of "American Progress" seems a lot darker with the colour of the grass transforming into brown the further one looks to the left, and also smoke covering the sky and parts of the landscape in this direction. One wagon and one person riding on a horse are to be observed. Furthermore, there is a group of people on the left, and a little behind them, a herd of bison are visible. Lastly, almost in the middle of the creation, people and tents can be seen. It is necessary to mention that all creatures painted, whether they are human ore animals, are heading to the left, or differently said, they are heading West. With that being said, it is obvious that the settlers, that have the intention of exploring and cultivating the unknown American land, want to extend their territory and thus, they move West. This phenomenon is also known under the title "Manifest Destiny", which means that those originally people of European descent have the impression of being chosen by God to discover the American territory. The progress that follows as a consequence is already mentioned in the title of the painting and can be repeatedly seen on the image, too. For example, the flying woman seems to be an allegory of this process and the Manifest Destiny itself. The book she is holding in her arm can supposedly be identified as the bible, meaning that she is ready to spread the Christian faith in the irreligious America. Since she has the cable in her hands and seems to prolong the power lines, she supports the industrial progress caused by the settlers. It also needs to be mentioned that the female resembles an angel, and in regard of this observation and the ones just made, one can imagine that John Gast himself had a positive perception of the Manifest Destiny and he was probably convinced of its advantages. However, there is some indirect criticism that is visible on the picture. Because of the settlers moving West, the Native Americans were displaced. When taking a closer look at the group of people on the left of the composition, they seem to bee fleeing from the progressing industrialisation and it is very likely that they were frightened by it, too. This impression is supported by the amount of smoke and in general the rather dark colours employed in the left half that give off the idea of destruction or maybe even death accompanying the exploration. Nevertheless, the "American Progress" advances unstoppably and it even passes the Mississippi, which once was the border between the settlers and the Native Americans. It destroys indeed the native American culture, but it also allows the settlers to discover new territory and to make it liveable. In my opinion, this message of the painting is very convincing, and it succeeds in showing both, the negative and positive aspects of the execution of the concept Manifest Destiny. Concludingly, it can be said that the painting deals with urge of the European immigrants, or at least of their descendants, to explore the West of what is now known as the United States. It is also important to say that only this very strong conviction of being God-chosen for this mission is the reason for the existence of the United States of America as we know them today.

Bildnerisches Gestalten /

John Gast - American Progress (Analysis, Interpretation)

John Gast - American Progress (Analysis, Interpretation)

user profile picture

Luise Hamsch

57 Followers
 

11/12

Präsentation

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 John Gast - American Progress
The painting "American Progress" by John Gast, created in 1872, shows the American settlers
exploring the "Wi

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Analyse und Interpretation des Gemäldes "American Progress" von John Gast in Bezug auf das "Manifest Destiny" im Fach Englisch

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John Gast - American Progress The painting "American Progress" by John Gast, created in 1872, shows the American settlers exploring the "Wild West". The artwork is separated into two halves with a flying woman in the middle of it. She is only lightly dressed by wearing a white dress waving in the wind and covering only several parts of her body. The female has long blonde curly hair falling over her back and furthermore, a golden star is placed on top of her forehead. In her right arm, she holds a brown book whose title can only hardly be read - just the letters "scoo" and the word "book" can be observed; the rest of it is behind her breast. In her hands, she holds a black cable that seems to come from the landscape where it is a part of a power lines construction. The woman has her head pointed at the left edge of the painting. In the foreground of the composition, four people are to be seen, on of them riding on a horse and all four heading to the left side of the picture. A little behind them, two other men are occupied by farm work. A river separates them from the territory in the back. The...

Nichts passendes dabei? Erkunde andere Fachbereiche.

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Alternativer Bildtext:

landscape in this part of the painting is characterized by a vivid nature - a deer and a bear on both sides can be remarked, as well as green grass and several trees. On the right side of the painting, it is noticeable that the ground is covered by green grass, and apart from the power lines, three trains, a horse-drawn carriage and even a port in the right back can be seen. On the other hand, the left part of "American Progress" seems a lot darker with the colour of the grass transforming into brown the further one looks to the left, and also smoke covering the sky and parts of the landscape in this direction. One wagon and one person riding on a horse are to be observed. Furthermore, there is a group of people on the left, and a little behind them, a herd of bison are visible. Lastly, almost in the middle of the creation, people and tents can be seen. It is necessary to mention that all creatures painted, whether they are human ore animals, are heading to the left, or differently said, they are heading West. With that being said, it is obvious that the settlers, that have the intention of exploring and cultivating the unknown American land, want to extend their territory and thus, they move West. This phenomenon is also known under the title "Manifest Destiny", which means that those originally people of European descent have the impression of being chosen by God to discover the American territory. The progress that follows as a consequence is already mentioned in the title of the painting and can be repeatedly seen on the image, too. For example, the flying woman seems to be an allegory of this process and the Manifest Destiny itself. The book she is holding in her arm can supposedly be identified as the bible, meaning that she is ready to spread the Christian faith in the irreligious America. Since she has the cable in her hands and seems to prolong the power lines, she supports the industrial progress caused by the settlers. It also needs to be mentioned that the female resembles an angel, and in regard of this observation and the ones just made, one can imagine that John Gast himself had a positive perception of the Manifest Destiny and he was probably convinced of its advantages. However, there is some indirect criticism that is visible on the picture. Because of the settlers moving West, the Native Americans were displaced. When taking a closer look at the group of people on the left of the composition, they seem to bee fleeing from the progressing industrialisation and it is very likely that they were frightened by it, too. This impression is supported by the amount of smoke and in general the rather dark colours employed in the left half that give off the idea of destruction or maybe even death accompanying the exploration. Nevertheless, the "American Progress" advances unstoppably and it even passes the Mississippi, which once was the border between the settlers and the Native Americans. It destroys indeed the native American culture, but it also allows the settlers to discover new territory and to make it liveable. In my opinion, this message of the painting is very convincing, and it succeeds in showing both, the negative and positive aspects of the execution of the concept Manifest Destiny. Concludingly, it can be said that the painting deals with urge of the European immigrants, or at least of their descendants, to explore the West of what is now known as the United States. It is also important to say that only this very strong conviction of being God-chosen for this mission is the reason for the existence of the United States of America as we know them today.