Allegory

DEFINITION

In the context of painting and sculpture, symbolic or underlying meaning conveyed by an image or images beyond the obvious visual arrangement. Allegorical works are exclusive in that they require education or ???information outside the work??? (Atkins). Traditionally Allegorical painting and sculpture creates a tie between the arts, literature, western religious texts", such as the Bible or Talmud, and Greek and Roman mythology. Allegory in American art had much European and English influence, and was used extensively by late 18th and 19th-century American artists, many of them having spent much time in England such as Benjamin West and Washington Allston. Many Hudson River School painters including Thomas Cole, Jasper Cropsey and Frederic Church did allegorical landscape paintings. The panoramic western mountain scenes of Albert Bierstadt are filled with allegorical expressions of god in nature. Ancient fables and mythological figures appear frequently in the allegorical sculptures of American sculptors working in Florence, Italy in the mid to late 19th Century: Thomas Ball, Thomas Crawford, William Couper, Daniel Chester French and Hiram Powers. Allegorical artwork in its traditional context went out of style in America in the 1940s and 50s, but Post-Modernism has returned to it with historical and figurative images. Sources: Robert Atkins, "Art Speak"; Greta Couper, ???An American Sculptor on the Grand Tour???; AskART database.

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