The architecture of the colonial period. In the Spanish colonies the culture of the motherland was rapidly absorbed and developed also benefiting from indigenous contributions. Under the dominion of the Spaniards settlements (presidios, pueblos and missiones) arose characterized by the activities that took place there (military, commercial, religious): of these centers the oldest still existing is Saint Augustine, founded in 1565 on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Until the entire 18th century. stone churches were built with Renaissance and then Baroque reminiscences (cathedral of Saint Augustine, church of San Xavier del Bac in Tucson). In the English colonies the arts developed much more slowly. Despite the presence of French, Dutch and Swedish settlers, the predominant influence from the beginning of the 16th century. it was of English derivation (especially in New England and Virginia: settlements with an agricultural economy, planned according to a collective logic; dwelling houses built around common spaces). Wood was used among the building materials; the technical solutions were refined, creating a lasting construction tradition: among the most popular systems, the balloon frame (➔ # 10132;). In the Anglo-Saxon states of the South, the economy based on large estates led to the typology of an isolated manor house; up to the entire 17th century. there were hardly any urban centers, with the exception of Williamsburg. From the 18th century. in the provinces of the North and East, with great commercial development, the cities enlarged and the need to create architectures representative of economic power was consolidated: the models were those of the English tradition systematized in numerous treatises (Vitruvius Britannicus, C. Campbell 1717; Palladius Londonensis, W. Salomon 1734 etc.). 1.2 Architecture after independence. From the end of the war of independence (1783), the need for a new architecture of a national character was also answered by a European-style eclecticism that lasted until the entire 19th century: in the North, private residential construction prevailed the influence of the English R. Adam ; characters of French classicism and idealized Roman antiquity emerged in New York, Philadelphia and all the great cities. The figure of T. Jefferson was decisive with his achievements: the Capitol in Richmond in Virginia; colonnades and Rotunda of the University of Charlottesville. These works in the wake of the Palladian tradition came to magnify stylistic features and typologies according to the various functions: United States Capitol and the White House of Wash; ington, a sort of model for public buildings that arose in other cities. In the footsteps of contemporary European architecture, between the revival of the various forms of the past there was a Victorian taste in houses and ecclesiastical buildings (J. Renwick, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, 1858) or the Tudor style for universities. ● The persistence of classical, Gothic or Renaissance forms was associated (from the middle of the century) with some typically American characteristics: attention to the functionality of the plants and to the services; use of new materials (iron, cast iron); construction of new building types (office buildings or hotels, developed in height). With great personalities such as HH Richardson and even more so with LH Sullivan and with the architects and engineers active in Chicago, architecture in the USA asserts itself in an autonomous and original way. The Chicago World Exhibition (1893) marked a significant stage in the complex architectural reality of the period by virtue of the general layout designed by DH Burnham and RM Hunt, the construction of the various pavilions, the movement known as City Beautiful, aimed at re-proposing the aesthetic values of the great European metropolises (apogee in the Chicago Plan, drawn up by Burnham in 1909). 1.3 Painting and sculpture. In painting, and even more in sculpture, the rigid Puritan morality of the first colonies limited production mainly to portraiture, derived from Dutch and English art, known above all by means of prints, of a modest technical level but with some characteristics of freshness and vivacity. In the 18th century. the artistic production became more refined reflecting, in addition to the decisive English influence, the attention to Italian models: J. Smiberg emerges; P. Vanderlyn; R. Feke; the Swedish G. Hesselius ; the Englishman J. Blackburn. Of particular importance in the second half of the century are B. West and JS Copley, formed in Europe. Notable portraitists, they were also the first to deal with historical compositions inspired by American history. At the turn of the century, a more specifically American art began to take shape, in portrait and historical paintings as well as landscape and genre painting (W. Allston, J. Vanderlyn, G. Stuart). CW Peale in 1805 organized what later became the Pennsylvania academy of the fine arts; he was the progenitor of a family of painters, among which the most notable was Raphaelle. ● Landscape painting had particular impetus with the Hudson River School; important for the formation of the school was the arrival in New York in 1825 of T. Cole, animator of the group, and significant were the previous experiences in the landscape of Peale, Allston, R. Earl, SFB Morse. In this context, AB Durand, JF Fensett, A. Bierstadt, GC Bingham, G. Catlin worked, S. Eastman. A special place is occupied by JJ Audubon with his refined drawings of American fauna. He also continued a non-academic painting, practiced by self-taught artists: landscapes, still lifes, portraits, marked by a fresh and intense naive vein (JH Davis, E. Hicks). ● In the sphere of sculpture, of neoclassical and academic orientation, HK Brown, C. Mills, T. Ball, ED Palmer distinguished themselves ; JQA Ward, a student of Brown; W. Rimmer, forerunner of 20th century naturalism. At the end of the 19th century. artists such as W. Homer, G. Inness, F. Duveneck, T. Robinson, JH Twachtman, M. Cassatt etc., sensitive to the researches of impressionism, they dedicated themselves, with different results, to the study of light and atmospheric rendering. The beginnings of American art were marked by a rift between the public and artists: many artists, active until the beginning of the 20th century, gave up art (Morse) or isolated themselves (Homer, from the vigorous impressionism imbued with realism; T. Eakins, with raw realism; the visionary AP Ryder, at the base of the American surrealist current) while others, such as JA Whistler, Cassatt, JS Sargent, emigrated to Europe.
United States Arts and Architecture From the Colonial Period to the 19th Century