John Gast’s painting, “American Progress”, illustrates many depictions of the early movement and development of the United States. This particular painting defines uniqueness and character throughout. Looking at it geographically the angel portrayed in the middle is floating westward as though she is exemplifying the Westward Expansion. She has the “Star of Empire” imprinted on her forehead, which better portrays the idea of her trying to move westward. This painting is a great description of our country’s economical progress and expansion.
Gast artistically explains the present day United States as nice cities along rivers with big buildings and churches along the right edge of this painting. This scene is also shown as being happy and awakening because of the bright sun rays being shown down upon it. The city is supposed to represent a growing city along the mighty Mississippi River. You are able to see the evolution of transportation through boats and railroads. The three main intercontinental railways are shown departing from this city, and the beautiful angel in the middle is carrying the telegraph cable which eventually linked the nation together. She is also carrying with her some type school book, which to me represents intellectual ideas being spread throughout the country. In the background behind her lies many rolling hills and plush green grass. There is not many trees in this portrait, but the snow capped mountains on the left and the great plains on the right depict a great deal of land diversity from coast to coast. There are also many cattle, Indians, wild horses, bears, and other wild game trying to flee her approach towards the west and eventually into the storms and waves of the Pacific coast. Although she seems very divine in appearance some may take her intentions as revolting. Her central idea seems as though she is trying to spread the economical progress throughout the entire United States....
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