Men Of Progress Analysis

1383 Words 6 Pages
As we’ve discussed heavily in class, as time goes on, new innovations are created in our history as people and cultures progress through the years. We’ve looked at objects and ideas that have seen advancements whether due to technology, or an advancement in thinking. This remains true when looking through forms of art and looking at Christian Schussele’s Men of Progress in 1862, and Edward Sorel’s People of Progress crafted in 1999. From a very basic visual perspective, there is a stark contrast between the two works of art. Both forms are done with oil on canvas, but are visually different. Edward Sorel’s work is done in a cartoon and caricature form, while Chrisitan Schussele’s is more of an accurate, photographic painting. This is because …show more content…
Taking a closer look the Men of Progress done by Christian Schussele, the painting illustrates a group of men who were described as “the most distinguished inventors of this country, whose improvements…have changed the aspect of modern society” (“Men of Progress. A Brush with History: Paintings from the National Portrait Gallery. http://www.npg.si.edu/cexh/brush/index/portraits/menofprogress.htm) The list is very expansive, but the picture displays famous inventors such as Samuel F.B. Morse, responsible for the electric telegraph, and also Dr. William Thomas Green Morton, known for the invention of surgical anesthesia. Although the painting does contain very important and influential inventors to the time period of 1790-1862, there are a few well known inventors left out of his artwork. One important invention to American society was the Cotton gin, a machine invented in order to separate cotton fibers that had previously had to be done by one’s hand. In 1793 however, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, sparking a revolution of the cotton industry and assisting in enhancing the American economy. This was in part due to the way in which Schussele decided who to include …show more content…
It’s maintained much of the identity of the original version, it features a multitude of important people of progress, but instead of just men and having men in the title, he’s added important women of progress and altered the title to just “people” of progress. As society progressed, women have gained more power and recognition over time, requiring their inclusion as people of progress in American society. Sorel’s version introduces a new cast of inventors of the twentieth century including Philo Farnsworth the inventor of television and Henry Ford, the creator of the Model T and assembly line. Sorel also replaced the portrait of Benjamin Franklin residing over the inventors with a portrait of Thomas Edison who is considered one of America’s leading businessmen. Edison is credited with the first incandescent light bulb, telegraph and phonograph just to name a few. His inventions not only helped individual productivity and advancements, but led the charge of America’s first technological revolution and began to position America towards the modern electric world it is today. (https://www.biography.com/people/thomas-edison-9284349) For this reason, he replaced Ben Franklin on the updated version. Finally, Sorel’s version focuses on the pioneers of technology like Schussele, but introduced individuals from different continents and time periods as well. As the world

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