Reliance and Confinement: Washington Allston’s Dual Attitudes Towards European Ideals in His Paintings
Keywords:American Art; Romanticism; Sublimity; Dual Identity.
The paper examines the dual attitudes reflected in the artistic work of Washington Allston. Born in 1779 and died in 1843, Allston is a famous American painter and poet whose artworks are greatly shaped by European philosophical concepts and artistic traditions. Allston's inheritance of such traditions could be mainly reflected by the deliberate representation of the concept of sublimity and divinity in his artistic creation. This could be readily seen from Allston’s artistic techniques, by which he better instills his aesthetics into his religious paintings while arousing greater empathy among the audience. However, against the background of American Romanticism, Allston was faced with the conflict between conforming to the European aesthetic standards in terms of “general air” and tradition, and the dramatic departure of objects from their “proper place”. As a result, Allston resorted to the institutional liberation, thus forming his distinct artistic style with an evident feature of dual attitudes.
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