In our inaugural online Art At Noon, PAFA’s Curator of Historical American Art, Dr. Anna O. Marley, discussed how artists helped shape our nation’s history.

Many people today do not tend to think of artists actively shaping our nation’s history, but that is exactly what Philadelphia artist Peter F. Rothermel (1812-1895) and his contemporaries—including Emanuel Leutze (1816-1868), John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889), William Henry Powell (1823-1879), Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889), and John Vanderlyn (1775-1852)—were attempting to do in securing and executing paintings for the Rotunda from the 1830s-1850s. In our 21st century moment when much of the country is examining it’s troubling and contentious shared artistic past, these pivotal, yet under-studied decades of antebellum American art history urgently merit sustained examination and analysis.

Recorded on April 1, 2020.

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