American Renaissance

American Renaissance

:"This article is all about the "American Renaissance" in architecture and the arts. For the use of the term in literature, see American Renaissance (literature). For the white nationalist magazine, see American Renaissance (magazine)."

In the history of American architecture and the arts, the American Renaissance was the period "ca" 1876 - 1914 characterized by renewed national self-confidence and a feeling that the United States was the heir to Greek democracy, Roman law, and Renaissance humanism. The American preoccupation with national identity (or nationalism) in this period was expressed by modernism and technology as well as academic classicism. It expressed its self-confidence in new technologies, such as the wire cables of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York . It found its cultural outlets in both Prairie School houses and in Beaux-Arts architecture and sculpture, in the "City Beautiful" movement, and high-minded American interference in the internal affairs of other states. Americans felt that their civilization was uniquely the modern heir, and that it had come of age. Politically and economically, this era coincides with the Gilded Age and the New Imperialism.

The World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893 was a demonstration that impressed Henry Adams, who was of the mind that in the future people would talk about Hunt and Richardson, La Farge and St Gaudens, Burnham and McKim and Stanford White when their politicians and millionaires were quite forgotten. ("The Education of Henry Adams" [] ).

In the dome of the reading room at the new Library of Congress, Edwin Blashfield's murals were on the given theme, "The Progress of Civilization."

The exhibition "American Renaissance: 1876 - 1917" at the Brooklyn Museum, 1979, encouraged the revival of interest in this movement.


*Howard Mumford Jones, "The Renaissance and American origins," "Ideas in America" 1945.
*Richard Guy Wilson, "The great civilization", forward essay to "The American Renaissance 1876-1917". Exhibition catalogue, The Brooklyn Museum, 1979-80.

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