Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Protecting the Newcomers - Fort Knox, Maine by Seth Eastman 1808-1875

During the late 18C & through much of the 19C, army forts were constructed throughout the United States to defend the growing nation from a variety of threats, both perceived & real, both external & internal. Internal threats included those from the Native Americans who had been on the land for enons. 

Seth Eastman (American artist, 1808-1875) Fort Knox, Maine

Fort Knox, Maine

Maine was repeatedly involved in northeast border disputes with British Canada, and the area between Castine and the rich lumber city of Bangor was invaded and occupied by the British during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Despite the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, which adjusted the boundary to avert the possibility of war, Fort Knox was established in 1844 to protect the Penobscot River valley against a possible future British naval incursion. Named for Major General Henry Knox, America’s first secretary of war and a native of Maine, the fort garrisoned troops from 1863 to 1866, and again in 1898, but never saw military action.

As is customary with Seth Eastman, a quiet, subtle skill is at work here. He adjusts his tonal palette to convincingly construct both the situation of the fort and the other objects within the space. The fort–-a complex geometric structure–-is in good repair, yet no human is visible in or on the fort. There is a sense of abandonment reflective of the fort’s history. The sailboat and rowboat, whose occupants are observers of this little-used remnant of the nation’s military past, heighten the mood. Eastman was aware that the fort had little history–-no real story to tell–-and he cleanly and matter-of-factly embeds the granite structure in the Maine landscape.

From the office of the United States curatorwe learn that in 1870, the House Committee on Military Affairs commissioned artist Seth Eastman 17 to paint images of important fortifications in the United States. He completed the works between 1870 & amp; 1875. 

Born in 1808 in Brunswick, Maine, Eastman found expression for his artistic skills in a military career. After graduating from the US Military Academy at West Point, where officers-in-training were taught basic drawing & amp; drafting techniques, Eastman was posted to forts in Wisconsin & amp; Minnesota before returning to West Point as assistant teacher of drawing. 

While at Fort Snelling, Eastman married Wakaninajinwin (Stands Sacred), the 15-year-old daughter of Cloud Man, Dakota chief. Eastman left in 1832 for another military assignment soon after the birth of Their baby girl, Winona, & declared His marriage ended When He left. Winona was also known as Mary Nancy Eastman & was the mother of Charles Alexander Eastman, author of Indian Boyhood.

From 1833 to 1840, Eastman taught drawing at West Point. In 1835, he married his 2nd wife & was reassigned to Fort Snelling as a military commander & remained there with Mary & their 5 children for the next 7 years. During this time Eastman began recording the everyday way of life of the Dakota & the Ojibwa people. Eastman established himself as an accomplished landscape painter. Between 1836 & amp; 1840, 17 of his oils were exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York City. 

Transferred to posts in Florida, & amp; Texas in the 1840s, Eastman became interesed in the Native Americans & made sketches of the people. This experience prepared him for the next 5 yeas in Washington, DC, where he was assigned to the commissioner of Indian Affairs & illustrated Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's important 6-volume Historical & amp; Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition, & Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States. 

In 1867 Eastman returned to the Capitol, this time to paint a series of scenes of Native American life for the House Committee on Indian Affairs. Of his 17 paintings of forts, 8 are located in the Senate, while the others are displayed on the House side of the Capitol. Eastman was working on the painting West Point when he died in 1875.

Dog Days of Summer - Suzanne Valadon 1865-1938

 Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) The arbitrator and the premise in 1927 

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Portrait of her Son Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955), her Mother & amp; His Grandmother and his Dog, 1910

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Andre Utter and His Dogs

Dog Days of Summer  is the name for the Most sultry period of summer, from July 3 to Aug. about 11. Named in early times by Observers in Bordering the Mediterranean countries, the period Was Determined to extend from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) & amp; the sun. The Greek poets Hesiod (ca. 750-650 BCE) & amp; Aratus (ca. 310-240 BCE) REFER, In Their writings, to  "the heat of late summer que la Greeks Believed Was Actually Brought on by the appearance of Sirius,"  a star in the constellation, que le later Romans, & amp; Refer to today we have Canis Major, literally the "Greater Dog" constellation. Homer, in the  Iliad, references the combination of "Orion's dog" (Sirius) with oncoming heat, fevers, & amp; evil, in Describing the approach of Achilles Toward Troy
Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky
On summer nights, star of stars,
Orion's Dog They Call it, brightest
Of all, an evil purpose carry, Bringing heat
Suffering and fevers to humanity.

The term "dog days" was used by the Greeks in Aristotle's Physics. Astronomer Geminus, around 70 BC, wrote: "It is Generally Believed That Sirius Produces the heat of the 'dog days' goal this is an error, for the star Merely marks a season of the year When the Sun' s heat is the greatest ".  The 1559 edition of lectionary of the Episcopal  Book of Common Prayer  indicates:" Naonae. Dog days begin "with the readings for July 7 & amp; end August 18. Aim the readings for September indicate indication 5:" Naonae. . Dog days end "This corresponds to the very Closely lectionary of the 1611 edition of the  King James Bible  qui indicates the Dog Days Beginning on July 6 & amp; ending on September 5. 

Waterside with French painter Eugene Louis Boudin 1824-1898

Eugene Louis Boudin (French landscape painter, 1824-1898) Detail Woman With a Parasol on the Beach 1880

Eugene Louis Boudin (French landscape painter, 1824-1898) On the Beach Sun

Eugene Louis Boudin (French landscape painter, 1824-1898) The Beach at Trouville

Eugene Louis Boudin (French landscape painter, 1824-1898) Trouville on the Beach Sheltered by a Parasol 1885

Eugene Louis Boudin (French landscape painter, 1824-1898) Bathers at the Beach at Trouville 1869

Eugene Louis Boudin (French landscape painter, 1824-1898) Beach Scene with Yellow Parasol 1887

Eugene Louis Boudin (French landscape painter, 1824-1898) On the Beach Sunset

Eugene Louis Boudin (French landscape painter, 1824-1898) On the Beach, Trouville, 1887

Eugene Louis Boudin (French landscape painter, 1824-1898) Princess Metternich on the Beach

Eugene Louis Boudin (French landscape painter, 1824-1898) The Beach at Villerville 1864

Eugene Louis Boudin (French landscape painter, 1824-1898) Villars Beach Scene

Morning Madonna

Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano (c 1459–c 1517) Mother and Child 1496

 In this blog, I try to begin each day with a painting of the Madonna & Child. It centers me; connects me to the continuum of our shared past; & encourages me to post some of the religious paintings which were the core of early Western art.