Art for the Fourth of July

In the spirit of the Fourth of July, I’ve decided to honor some of the greatest American paintings. Rather than create a dry, unfeeling catalog of works listed alphabetically (which would take forever, because there are actually a lot of really great American paintings), I’ve done something a bit different, inspired by this list on Here is, without further ado, the series of events that goes down on most Fourth of July celebrations, as illustrated by some of the most well-known American paintings.

1. When you and your squad head out for the barbecue. For freedom. (Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, 1851).

"Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Leutze. c/o
“Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Leutze. c/o


2. When your host shows you around their house with no other purpose than to display their wealth. (The Artist in His Museum, Charles Wilson Peale, 1822).

"The Artist in His Museum," Charles Wilson Peale. c/o
“The Artist in His Museum,” Charles Wilson Peale. c/o


3. Realizing you don’t know anyone else at the event you’re attending. (American Gothic, Grant Wood, 1930).

"American Gothic," Grant Wood c/o
“American Gothic,” Grant Wood c/o


4. When all you can think about is how much you want to eat but are forced to keep socializing. (President Elect, James Rosenquist, 1960-1, 1964).

"President Elect," James Rosenquist. c/o
“President Elect,” James Rosenquist. c/o


5. When they finally do get around to serving the food. (Freedom from Want, Norman Rockwell, 1941-1943).

"Freedom from Want," Norman Rockwell. c/o
“Freedom from Want,” Norman Rockwell. c/o


6. Everyone’s relatives partying at every Fourth of July Party ever. Because freedom means looking like Russell Hammond from Almost Famous. (The Jolly Flatboatmen, George Caleb Bingham, 1846.

"The Jolly Flatboatmen," George Caleb Bingham. c/o
“The Jolly Flatboatmen,” George Caleb Bingham. c/o


7. When you decide you’re over people using freedom as an excuse to be irresponsible. (Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1897).

"Portrait of the Artist's Mother," Henry Ossawa Tanner. c/o
“Portrait of the Artist’s Mother,” Henry Ossawa Tanner. c/o


8. And you wish you had this painting to show to everyone being irresponsible to remind them what the holiday is about. Nobody can avoid squirming under the imperious gaze of freedom itself. (The Athenaeum, Gilbert Stuart, 1796).

"The Athenaeum," Gilbert Stuart. c/o
“The Athenaeum,” Gilbert Stuart. c/o


9. But then everybody calms down and you all decide to get along, realizing that though you may have differences, you can at least put them aside for one holiday. Even if your relatives are acting like British imperialist colonists. (The Peaceable Kingdom, Edward Hicks, 1826).

"The Peaceable Kingdom," Edward Hicks. c/o
“The Peaceable Kingdom,” Edward Hicks. c/o


10. Just in time for fireworks! Because nothing says freedom like pyrotechnics in the sky. (Nocturne in Black and Gold, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1872-1877).

"Nocturne in Black and Gold," James Whistler. c/o
“Nocturne in Black and Gold,” James Whistler. c/o



Happy Fourth from Art Docent Program!

Also, here is a link to a painting by Jason Heuser of George Washington slaying zombies. Because ‘Merica.

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