Click on the individual images for each of the 8 paintings to see them in more detail and read the short article on each of the corresponding pages for these paintings.
Choose 2 images and write a 200–300-word paragraph for each of them addressing the following:
1. When was the image commissioned and hung? What is the historical context of this painting? What events were occurring when this painting was created that could have contributed to its content? How are those connections between content and context most clearly presented?
2. Is the artist successful in communicating contextual influences? Is the message too difficult to understand for a modern viewer?
As a heading for each paragraph, include the image, its title, and the artist.
Professor name here
Course name and period
1 April 2016
Baptism of Pocahontas by John Gadsby Chapman
The Baptism of Pocahontas was painted in 1839 and hung in 1840 (AOC 2016). The historical context of this painting concerns Pocahontas’ integration into English society and her choice to live under the name Rebecca instead of her traditional name. Many events occurred during this time in history that could have contributed to the creation of this painting. This includes the adjustment of American culture and the fact that the American settlers had rapidly taken over many of the native tribes, including the Powhatan Confederacy. The connections between context and content are most clearly presented through the utilization of Pocahontas as the center of the painting. She is surrounded in the background by her tribe (AOC 2016), representing the fact that the English settlers had all but destroyed the native tribes. They could choose between destruction or assimilation like Pocahontas. The artist is successful in communicating contextual influences. Any modern viewer familiar with the destruction of the Native Americans at the hands of the various new settlers will understand the message of this painting. The artist’s choice to portray the baptism of Pocahontas with her tribe surrounding her is an excellent representation of the context of this historical era.
Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull
John Trumbull created this painting in 1818. It was placed in 1826 in the Rotunda (AOC 2016). The historical context of this painting concerns the early emergence of the United States as a super-power. Having only won its independence just over thirty years prior, the country was enjoying new political shifts and the emergence of ideas such as the Monroe Doctrine. The major historical context of this painting concerns the new desire to portray the early creators of the country as heroes. Of course, the historical context of the Declaration of Independence itself is the increasing desire of the American colonists to be fr...