Every piece of art is created during a period, a time period when artists use similar techniques to create their pieces. A period lasts at least one hundred years. Culture is also important when influencing art. This is a particular stage of society according to Webster’s Dictionary. This essay will briefly describe the period and culture that influenced Gilbert Stuart’s “George Washington”, oil on canvas painted in 1795 and Andy Warhol’s “Green Marilyn”, a silkscreen on synthetic polymer paint on canvas created in 1962.
Gilbert Stuart was one of the most famous American portrait painters during his lifetime. He painted many Presidents as well as other rich and famous people. His famous paintings of George Washington show the President as a stately figure and it was eventually used as the portrait on the dollar bill. This period, the 18th century, was known as the Rococo period. This was an extension of the baroque style. Rococo paintings are ornate but unlike baroque style works, they are more suited to private residences of the rich than in cathedrals (434-435). The culture at the time was one of revolution. The American Revolution allowed America to assert its independence and Stuart was painting the President’s and other important figures in American history at that time.
Andy Warhol like Stuart painted popular subjects for money. However, Warhol did not focus on Presidents and other power Americans, he focused on pop culture. After the end of World War II, Western art was on the rise. The center of the art world moved to New York City and gave rise to the New York School of art (536). This was a period of post war expressionism. Artists were free to try new things and be more creative. This is what led to Warhol embracing Pop Art in the 1960’s. Pop Art is short for “popular” and portrays everyday items and images, often like advertising and media (543). Andy Warhol would take images of everyday items like Campbell’s soup cans or famous people like Marilyn Monroe and show them as repeating images or in unusual colors.
Even though these two artists were working during different periods and in vastly different cultures, they were both famous American artists. They took famous Americans and images and made them into wonderful pieces of artwork.