Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Constructing a hero: An examination of “heroic death” in the works of Benjamin West, John Trumbull, and Alexander Gardner
by Martin, Dana K., M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2012, 110; 1517728
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis investigates how the theme of heroic death functioned in the work of three artists. Through an examination of each artist's biography, set against the backdrop of major intellectual and cultural developments in the eighteenth century, I demonstrate that the artist's representation of heroic death was a process of construction that was appropriate to their individual milieu. Benjamin West's The Death of General Wolfe establishes the quintessential hero's death and reveals how West simultaneously revolutionized and adhered to the principles of history painting. John Trumbull's The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill continued the search for the true hero's death, which resulted in a painting that was constructed to give the audience an idea of the eyewitness experience. Finally, I show that Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the Civil War reveals how the ideology of the hero's death persisted well into the nineteenth century.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Simms, Matthew
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 51/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Art history
Publication Number: 1517728
ISBN: 978-1-267-47089-8
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