75. Kenyon Cox, Venice, mural, 1894.
Oil on canvas, 12 × 24′ (photo:
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
legory was challenged by newer tendencies in
American mural painting after the turn of the century. Artists and their patrons tired of what Francis Davis Millet, one of the leading muralists,
called "'the customary representations, such as a
group of young women in their nighties presenting a pianola to the city of New York.'"
turned instead to a documentary mode of mural
16 This echoed the naturalistic spirit of
the mural by La Farge at Bowdoin. La Farge, who
never let go of the natural, thus seems in some
ways to represent both the preamble to and the
aftermath of the American Renaissance commitment to academic allegory.
The stylistically varied and complex murals of
the Walker Art Building, designed for a quintessential monument of American Renaissance taste
in architecture, and preserved in that site, newly
restored, are a very special document and treasure
of late nineteenth-century style and cultural aspiration.
For the American Renaissance in general, see R. G. Wilson
D. H. Pilgrim,
R. N. Murray, The American
Renaissance, 1876-1917, Exhibition Catalogue, The
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, N.Y., 1979; and H. B. Weinberg
, "Renaissance and Renascences in American
Art," Arts Magazine, LIV, November 1979, 172-76. For
the Walker Art Building and its murals, see E. S. Pols, "The Walker Art Building, 1894, Charles F. McKim's
First Museum Design," M.A. thesis, University of Texas
at Austin, 1985; and R. West, "The Walker Art Building
Murals," Occasional Papers I, Brunswick, Maine, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1972. The best survey of
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Italian Presence in American Art, 1860-1920.
Contributors: Irma B. Jaffe - Editor.
Publisher: Fordham University Press.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1992.
Page number: 131.
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