Critical Issues in American Art: A Book of Readings

By Mary Ann Calo | Go to book overview

6
Two Sculptures for the Capitol

Horatio Greenough's Rescue and Luigi Persico's Discovery of America

VIVIEN GREEN FRYD

The consequence of belief in America's "manifest destiny" to expand the nation westward--spreading democracy, Christianity, and civilization across the continent--has become a major theme of revisionist histories of the nineteenth century. In her study of the production and reception of two statues designed to ornament the nation's capitol, Vivien Fryd examines the use of public sculpture as a vehicle to convey, and to justify, official government policies that sanctioned the seizure of Western lands and the containment of the Native American population.

Focusing on themes that captivated the American imagination, such as the "discovery" of the New World and the subsequent conflict between "civilization" and "savagery," Fryd explains this pairing of an enlightened Columbus with a heroic American pioneer as a powerful endorsement of expansionist ideology. Through the posture of the American Indians within these sculptural groupings, which employ an unmistakable rhetoric of domination and triumph, awestruck reverence for Columbus is contrasted with savage brutality brought under control as a righteous settler defends his family and, by extension, the legitimacy of his predecessors' claims.

Horatio Greenough Rescue [1] and Luigi Persico's Discovery of America [2], once prominently situated on the main staircase of the United States Capitol, created controversy even in their own day. Both the Discovery and the Rescue were intimately tied up with the ideas of America as a nation and its attitudes toward the Indian, and were the objects of considerable thought and debate in the press. By the twentieth century, the criticism had become intense. As early as 1939 a joint resolution submitted to, but not passed by, the House recommended that the Rescue be "ground into dust, and scattered to the four winds, that no more remembrance may be perpetuated of our barbaric past, and that it may not be a constant reminder to our American Indian citizens. . . ." 1 Two years later, the House considered a joint resolution that suggested, "the group [the Rescue] now disgracing the entrance to the Capitol . . ." be replaced with "a statue of one of the great Indian leaders famous in American history. . . ." 2 In 1952, the California Indian Rights Association objected to the racist imagery of both the Discovery and the Rescue. 3 Additional correspondence from this and other Indian groups to various Congressmen and to the architect of the Capitol demanded the removal of these two works. 4 In 1958, the federal government removed the sculptural decoration from the

-93-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Critical Issues in American Art: A Book of Readings
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 328

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.