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Culpeper Art History

In: Historical Events

Submitted By jpickett05
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Art 100 – Art Appreciation

Museum of Culpeper
Many artists throughout time have captured the rich history of Culpeper. These artists depicted the evolution of times, with the wars Culpeper was involved in and the beauty of the architecture of this city. These work of arts are now on display at the Museum of Culpeper and during a visit on the fifteenth of November, I was able to witness this history that was captured by these artist throughout the life of Culpeper. The Parting by John Paul Strain depicts both the militant history and the architecture of its time but the main focus of this picture is of General Hill and his wife. The focus on General Hill and his wife is delineated by the space used by John Paul Strain. He places the loving couple at the front and center of the painting pulling the eye of the viewer straight to them. With the use of oil on canvas, Strain was able to capture this moment of love at the romantic time of day, sunset as he heads off to the Battle of Fredericksburg and his wife is getting a final goodbye. With General and Mrs. Hill embraced in a sign of love, this leads one to believe it was based in Romanticism. The Parting was painted circa 1862-1862, could easily be seen as John Paul Strain following in the wake of the Romanticism style that occurred between 1820 and 1850 in Europe. Along with the timing of this painting, Romanticism celebrates nature, rural life and the common people. The Parting shows a house in the woods of a General of the South during the Civil war. The men fighting in this war were ordinary men fighting for a cause they believed in, common men. John Paul Strain used color to add to the style of Romanticism. Using the setting sun, allowing for the intuition of the viewer to associate the orange, yellow and pink of the sunset to be related to a romantic moment. The use of the pure white snow with General and Mrs. Hill standing in the area that has the snow still reflecting the remaining sun making their love seem real and pure. John Paul Strain used color to help focus the viewer’s attention to the main focus, to show the romanticism he was trying to capture in this moment.
While the Train Depot by Eleanor Lewis does not capture the same Romanticism that The Parting accomplished, yet it still captures the beauty of the rural life of Culpeper. The common people were able to acquire supplies, visit bigger cities, the progression forward and yet it still captured the beauty of nature that this building encompassed and still does. Eleanor Lewis painted Train Depot using oil on canvas circa 1860’s, still the early development of the railroad. In its young phase, it was still a romanticized idea. The use of lines by Eleanor Lewis draws the eyes to the horizon, sending the message of the growth of this town. She was able to use one point linear perspective to point to the horizon, to let the viewers imagination think of the possibilities of a future, the ability to sustain and survive as they have through the wars and as they have grown from the revolution. The light colors used could represent the beginning of a bright future or the happiness that this railroad has brought to the city. Painted in the daylight allows for the natural colors of the building and surrounding nature to be shown and appreciated. To show the people of Culpeper were excited about the arrival of the train depot in their city. The romanticism that exudes from the thought of common people living life in conjunction with nature is a foundation that this country was built off of. The train depot is constructed of nature’s material, bricks and wood. The painting is about the balance of man and nature. How the use of natural material was able to be used to advance and ease man’s life. Train Depot has characters standing, socializing, making the viewer believe they are just waiting for the next train to deliver a shipment or to take them to a different place, a brighter future, or to take away the bounty of Culpeper to share with the people the beauty and natural wealth that comes from this land.
Frances Grimsley painted the Burgandine House circa 1800 using oils on canvas. This house designates the history and evolution of Culpeper. When Culpeper initially separated from Orange County in 1949, the Burgandine House had already been built. This historic building was painted 50 years after it as originally built. While Frances Grimsley would not have known of the future of this building, the history it would develop and the longevity and what it represents to the city of Culpeper, he was able to capture it with a romantic style. Capturing the quaint house, rural living in the country surrounded by nature, fitting in perfectly with its environment is the basis of romanticism. Frances Grimsley use of space draws the eye to the house similar to how Strain drew the eyes to the General and his wife. The house is in the center of the painting and using an angled view; Grimsley was able to add depth to the painting. The use of a two-point linear perspective allowed the viewer to see more of the architecture. It allowed for the viewer to see the depth in relation to the trees surrounding the house. The use of color shows how incorporated the house was with the surrounding nature. How much green there is in the picture, for the shrubs, the trees, the grass and fields. The use of so green and blue skies with a rural house for a citizen of Culpeper defines Romanticism, which is very similar to Train Depot and The Parting. While the Burgandine House was painted with a romantic style, it doesn’t compare to the romanticism of the history of the house. How it is from the beginning of Culpeper and was gifted to the city by Mrs. Burgandine in 1966 and is now taken care of by the city just portrays the love this city has for its history.
All three of these works of art, The Parting, Train Depot, and Burgandine House, can be appreciated for their ability to depict how man and nature survive together. These three paintings were able to show the diverse culture created in Culpeper. They depict the rich history of its military roots, its ability to advance and survive and shows how the city cares for its own and has deep roots in its past. I was able to experience and learn about a style of art that is able to be diverse in the content that it covers. How the use of color can portray an emotion on the viewer and create a connection to a piece of history captured by oils. While having this assignment to see and learn about the difference in art and apply what I am learning to examples in real life, art and the culture of it did not become a passion of mine. It made me look at art as more of a chore than as an appreciation of someone else’s abilities as it should be viewed.…...

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