Colonial American Portraiture
In this provocative study, the renowned art scholar Wayne Craven examines early American portraiture not just in terms of the genius of particular artists, but as a complex expression of society and the individual. Historians of American art have long identified the evolution of styles in early portraits; Professor Craven asks why those styles developed as they did, looking beyond the formal boundaries of traditional art history and studying the effect of religious, social, economic and political forces on art and the growth of arts patronage in early America. The author identifies the Protestant perspective: the compatibility of Protestant spiritualism with intensely secular motivations. In Professor Craven's view, the rich variety of early portraits demonstrates how Americans moved away from the strict theology of Puritanism, becoming Materialists and determined followers of the Protestant ethic.