The period between the American Revolution and the Civil War was formative and full of change. At the start of the era, most popular prints support the task of nation-building. They project a sense of striving to create a society that would live up to the ideals of the founding fathers and the principles they promulgated. Most early imagery aims to instruct and it represents either ideal states of being or the penalties of deviating from righteous behavior.  Gradually, the imagery becomes more worldly, more representative of contemporary life, and offers more commentary on a range of social issues. This expansion in the nature and variety of popular prints reflects the gradual establishment of an American printmaking industry geared toward a mass-market consumer economy rather than a decline in religious and moral concerns.  Indeed, the first half of the nineteenth century was animated by religious revivals and reform movements of all kinds that were represented and commented upon in the graphic arts of the time. This online exhibition follows the evolution of popular prints about men and their world, with particular focus on their home life, occupations, associations, fashions, and recreation...

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A New Display...

Figure 2.

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Life & Age of Man


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