Art Unboxed

Art Unboxed History And Art

Almost as long as I’ve loved art, I’ve loved history. It is intriguing how the two are tied so deeply together. Many works of art exist because of, or have survived due to, a connection with history. Some pieces of art are no longer, but their history causes them to be remembered.

From The Ark Of The Covenant, to Solomon’s Temple, they are prominent in our minds, though we never saw them. Other works of art, such as the majority of the portrait galleries of the world’s countries were inspired by, and survived due to their history. Either way, art and history are cousins if not brothers.

Today my focus is on The Lincoln Memorial, it is celebrating it’s centennial this year. I have sketched or painted President Lincoln multiple times, it does not take much for me to do so again. This time I was inspired by a story I was not familiar with. Most of us know of the amazing speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, but I did not know about Marian Anderson.

After the daughters of the American Revolution refused for Marian Anderson a contralto, to hold a concert at Constitution Hall in 1939. At his wife’s suggestion, President Roosevelt arranged an Easter Sunday concert on the steps of The Lincoln Memorial. She sang to an audience of 75,000 people who were present, and by radio to the nation.

Very soon after, I knew I had to sketch President Lincoln, Dr. King, and Marian Anderson together. I found one photograph of Dr King standing to the right of President Lincoln’s Statue and a wreath. It was natural to sketch this, and place Marian Anderson on the left. Though a quick sketch, it was inspired by both the history and the art connected to them.

History and art reflect and support each other. Most likely we would not have as much information on Washington and Lincoln were it not for their portraits, statues, and literature. At the same time, we would not have all the portraits, statues, and literature were it not for their history.

It serves as a good reminder, we do not only draw for ourselves, we do so to show others things that are important to us. Things that should continue to be important in years ahead. It also serves as an area of inspiration that may be overlooked in this day of internet access and photo services.

I would encourage you to find an historical piece of art, or an event that inspires you, then to draw, paint, or sculpt it. You may find one day, your art inspires others to make history, or at least helps them to remember something they need to know about it.

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