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    The thematic research paper entails writing an in depth analysis of a particular style, artist, or time period representing the history the United States, addressing issues that you connect to a particular theme (idea). In the paper you will demonstrate knowledge of the particular artist/culture, style, content, purpose, etc. The thematic research paper should be a minimum of SIX double-spaced typed pages (not including bibliography) using a 12-point font, and consist of a theme selected by the student. The paper topic must be on art of the United States. In the paper you should demonstrate your knowledge of the particular work of artist, style, period, or subject matter selected as it relates to your theme. The paper should be a critical analysis of the work (compare/contrast paper is best). r. A bibliography of a MINIMUM of 3 sources should be at the end of your paper. Only 1 of these sources can be from the Internet (this does not include reliable internet sources (museum, etc.) or online books and journals. Your remaining must be books or journal articles from a library. You must refer to your sources throughout the paper and not just list them at the end. Choose 2-3 images to analyze in paper that connect to your theme. When you begin writing the paper make sure you state your thesis or point in the first paragraph. Begin with a brief outline of the background information (historical, cultural, religious) on the artist/culture you chose (the entire paper should not be biographical or purely an informative paper). The main body of the paper should be a discussion of the works of art you chose (2-3 is good). A discussion of the formal elements, content/meaning, and background factors is important, including the critical analysis from your sources that relate to you theme. You should also include a proper conclusion to the paper, summarizing the main points of the paper, restating key points about the artist/culture and the work(s) discussed. Paper formatting:●1 inch margins●12pt font (times new roman)●Double Spaced●If images are imbedded into document text must still equal 6 pages. 1.Research paper (6 pages) (Name in upper left hand corner with class number).2.Bibliography (your sources should be cited throughout your paper)3.Photocopies of the works of art discussed with titled and numbered (you may have to upload them separately


Subject Art and design Pages 7 Style APA


Romantic Landscape Painting

Romanticism features a cultural movement that began in Europe before spreading gradually to other parts of the world. It was developed as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution which took place at around the same time. This movement ended up impacting thoughts, literature, music, and even art. It took place immediately after the Baroque movement and was soon followed by Realism. With its peak in the early 1800s, the Romantic Movement led to the development of a new form of art that focused more on emotions, feelings, and even the mood of the artist. The artworks that will be discussed promote the theme of nature, and the beauty and opportunities it presents to human beings.

Romantic Landscape Painting

            Romantic art is quite unique since it focused not only on imagination, but also spirituality, mystery and many others. The brush work was also unique since it turned out to be looser and less precise, unlike the previous forms of art (Bullock, 2020). It focused on attitudes that represented the deepened appreciation of natural beauty, preference for emotion over reason, and of the senses rather than intellect. Instead of focusing on what the artist saw and representing the same in the piece of art, romantic art pushed them to examine their deeper selves and represent their personalities and moods. Hence, the resulting piece represents the artist’s passions and even any struggles that they may be experiencing. The creativity is considered to be more important than any formal art rules or traditional procedures. A landscape painting is one which features natural scenery like valleys, trees, rivers, and mountains (Fosbury, 2020). The main subject features a wide view rather than a specific object. The elements of the painting tend to be arranged in a coherent composition. Two artworks will be considered for this analysis including The Oxbow by Thomas Cole and The Hay Wain by John Constable.

The Oxbow (1836)

            The Oxbow is a piece of work that depicts a view from the top of Mount Holyoke after a thunderstorm. At a first glance, one may easily think that the painting is only a representation of the bend that exists in the Connecticut River. However, when considering the theme of romanticism it becomes clear that the painting represents so much more (Prodger, 2020). It features a representation of the westward expansion that took place in the 19th century.

            From the lower right to the upper left side of the painting, the viewer can see that a diagonal line has been used to divide the landscape into two unequal halves (Stuart, 2018). The left side features a sublime view of the land. It triggers feelings of danger, fear and even uncertainty. The gloomy dark clouds which represent the storm further intensifies these feelings (Fosbury, 2020). It also represents the part of nature which man cannot touch. Hence, it is untamed and wild, which is a feature that many American artists liked to construct in their works. The untamed wilderness is also represented through the Blasted Tree that has been included in the lower left corner of the landscape.

            The right side of the painting represents a peaceful, pastoral landscape that human beings have touched and altered to their specification. This land was once untouched as that on the left side of the painting, but is now regulated by humankind (Fosbury, 2020). Animals graze here, crops are grow here, and human activity is evident on all areas. Therefore, what was once wild, has now been tamed by human beings. The thunderstorm that can be seen threatening the left side has already left the right side looking refreshed. Here, the sun shines brightly leaving a golden glow.

            When both sides of the painting are viewed together, the idea of manifesting destiny is derived. In the nineteenth century, most of the focus was on the westward expansion. The purchase of Louisiana in 1804 was perceived to be a way of settling the westward territory (Prodger, 2020). In the painting, Cole manages to show the benefits of the process since the untouched opportunities are represented. The westward expansion was perceived to be a change that was bound to happen, and whose results would be a positive alteration of the land.

            It is evident that this painting features the personal feelings of the artist, which he represents in the form of a landscape. Probably, the artist could not express the issues of westward expansion directly, which is why he chose to represent such feelings using land and nature (Bullock, 2020). Being one of the most influential landscape artists of his time, Cole was still using figure painting though to a lower extent. This is evident in his painting towards the lower middle part. Although it is quite hidden, zooming shows that it is a self-portrait. He wears a red coat and hat, and appears to be working on a painting since he has a canvas and paintbrush.

The Hay Wain (1821)

            In this piece of artwork, Constable paints a rural landscape that disappears into the sun-drenched meadows (Fosbury, 2020). The pool in the foreground further offsets the scene. Here, the artist promotes the theme of rural life and the beautiful landscape. It is evident that the artists feeling that he seeks to express is that of love for the beauty of nature. The Hay wain is located on a site next to Flatford in England. The hay wain is a horse-drawn cart which was a common agricultural equipment used during the artist’s youth. The cottage that has been included in the left side was rented by a farmer, and it is located right after the Flatford Mill that was owned by the artist’s father. In the distant right, a group of haymakers have been painted working. Although they appear to be working hard and tired, they still seem content by the beauty of nature that surrounds them. Therefore, it is clear that this artist was trying to express how the environment was like as he was growing up.

            Just as is the case in Cole’s (1836) artwork, Constable also expresses some of his perspectives on the Industrial Revolution (Elissa, 2018). Although the art piece represents so much calmness and happiness even as people are working, it is highly unlikely that it was really the case during that period. The Industrial Revolution which took place in the 19th century led many people to lose their jobs. More specifically, those who were living in the rural areas could not get work as farmers since machines reduced the need for man power (Prodger, 2020). Therefore, harvesting and maintaining crops could be done more efficiently without the need of human workers. Due to this, there were many uprisings and riots that disturbed the peace of many. Hence, refusing to acknowledge this fact openly in his painting may be a representation of his feelings and emotions towards the subject (Elissa, 2018). Maybe Constable is trying to represent the kind of life that he hoped he had when growing up. Also, it could be because painting such occurrences would have turned away the attention from the romantic landscape that he was hoping to achieve.

            However, a much deeper analysis shows that Constable may have really painted his true experience as a child. He came from a rich background, and the revolution only served to their advantage (Elissa, 2018). Hence, he may not have had an idea of the actual problems being experienced by the poor. That could be the reason why he represents the workers working in harmony with nature.
            Symmetry is not really the focus of this piece of art since it features a real scene. Constable highlights some of the things he saw while growing up, and also what he came to know as an adult. The result is something complete and beautiful, even though it is evident that there was much going on in the background (Fosbury, 2020). During the time of this painting, it was common to paint landscapes that appeared mythical and perfect. This piece turned out to be a big break from the dramatic pieces which many artists were focusing on.
            To further ensure that the feeling of peace and appreciation was delivered, natural tones have been used throughout this piece of art (Stuart, 2018). A big contrast is seen between the pool of water, tall trees that are also looking very delicate, and the strong brick house towards the left side of the painting. These tones complement each other fully, thereby creating a feeling of harmony.
            The Hay Wain painting was not made on site, despite the fact that Constable was a landscape painter. The final piece featured sketches created at different times before being combined into one piece. He was familiar with the landscape that he was painting quite well as he had grown up in that environment. Hence, he also included details from his own memory. However, the artwork still represent his own feelings, mood and emotions (Prodger, 2020). The content does not comply with the rules of art, just as is the case with other romantic art pieces. Many rejected his work since they believed that it needed to be in line with the approaches taken by other artists during this time. However, Constable managed to start selling the pieces since people appreciated its uniqueness.

            This artwork helps to explain the various perspectives of the rich and poor towards the Industrial Revolution (Bullock, 2020). From Constable’s view, it is clear that the process favoured the rich since they did not lose jobs or have to suffer any consequences, unlike the poor who depended on the simple jobs to afford their basic needs. Therefore, it is clear that many suffered while others were enjoying the changes being experienced.


            Romantic landscape paintings seek to express unique views, feelings and emotions with regards to specific occurrences in the environment and society. It focuses on such expressions by likening them to the natural environment. Such paintings often need in depth analysis before one can be able to grasp the actual ideas being shared. The two pieces of art by Cole and Constable are great representation of Romantic landscape paintings.




Bullock, M. (2020). Stages of European Romanticism: Cultural Sychronicity across the Arts, 1798–1848 by Theodore Ziolkowski (review). Monatshefte112(1), 161–163. https://doi.org/10.3368/m.112.1.161

Elissa, Y. (2018). Found or Recovered? Competing Views of Paradise in Late Nineteenth-Century Hawaiian Landscape Painting. Religion & the Arts22(1/2), 114–134. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685292-02201006

Fosbury, E. (2020). Landscape Painting in Canada. Canadian Geographic, 30–33.

Prodger, M. (2020). A cavalier in the countryside. New Statesman149(5529), 50–51.

Stuart, K. (2018). Samuel Palmer, John Martin, and John Sell Cotman: Visions of Paradise in the Eye of the Beholder? Religion & the Arts22(1/2), 40–57. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685292-02201002



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