Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Living in the period of romanticism in art and literature, Irving reflects the spirit and taste of the times. His choice of subject matter and his attitude toward it were romantic. He wrote about things that were old, unusual and strange-Spanish castles, English churches and manor houses, Hudson River area legends and traditions. He found nature delightful and was sympathetic toward humble creatures, such as the noble savage and animals.

Art of the romantic period pleased without disturbing and pictured common human situations, painted sentimentally and with a touch of humor. The beauty of primeval nature was painted with tenderness and love. The prints of American history, life, and manners by Currier and Ives enjoyed great popularity. In 1872 William Cullen Bryant edited an enormous picture-book of engraving with commentary which presents the diverse American landscapes, scenic points of interest, and quaint towns. It is significantly entitled Picturesque America. Whatever was picturesque pleased the romantic tastes of the times. The classic and monumental were generally disregarded.