Washington Allston (1234 words)


A Romantic artist who painted both large-scale history paintings and smaller canvases derived from literary subjects, Washington Allston was a well-known figure in the visual arts on both sides of the Atlantic. Scholars have interpreted his most famous painting, Belshazzar’s Feast (1817-43), as an allegory of the state of the arts in the early nineteenth-century United States. Despite financial support from admirers, Allston was unable to complete the ambitious work, signaling to some observers that American artists could not compete with those of Europe. Allston’s esteem dropped precipitously in the years following his death in 1843, until an exhibition in 1947 at the Detroit Institute of Arts and Edgar Richardson’s book …

Citation: Carso, Kerry. "Washington Allston". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 May 2010 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=92, accessed 24 October 2020.]

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