8 thoughts on “History and deception: Kenseth Armstead’s Surrender Yorktown 1781

  1. Thank you so much for your rendition of your interpretation of that painting and I love the way you spoke about it And that you weren't looking for excuses for original but could understand that it wasn't something original more fictional But still worthy of You're interpretation and understanding

  2. what music is played for the intro??? I've been watching smarthistory on KahnAcademy and have been looking for that piece of music for y e a r s

  3. I love Smarthistory and have been enthusiastically watching your videos. You have reinvigorated my enthusiasm in art. However, this is the type of art that dissuades me from viewing contemporary art. While the original painting and discussion on appropriated history is a very interesting topic, Armstead's treatment leaves me unmoved. I can understand the direction he's going in term of rejection of medium and basic representation. But it's the discussion around the themes surrounding the original piece that's interesting rather than Armstead's visual interpretation. As with most post-modern art pieces, it's often understood by few (who have degrees) and revels in it's own ambiguity. For most of us it remains an self indulgent piece with a topic so exsanguinated that I'm not even convinced the artist knows of their own intention. Thank goodness there is ample room next to the paintings in galleries to spell out why we should care about these pieces.

  4. I love this, but I don't know that the artist can ever fully achieve the goal he sets out with his work — even though we can see what's removed, even though we can see the artists own brushstrokes creating the narrative before us, the truth will always be subject to interpretation. He asserted, for example, that the environment would have been denuded of its lushness after Yorktown — I'm not aware of any portrayals of the battle which suggested it was ravaged to the extent portrayed in the drawing. I only bring this up because I think the artist may be making the same mistakes that Blarenberghe made — mistakes that every artist who attempts to paint history makes, no matter their intention. Even a photograph or a short video of a battle leaves things out, and what is important or not important is decided by where the artist or the photographer lays their brush or aims their camera. In that sense, is all historical art necessarily a retreat from the truth? Is it all an appeal to emotion, no matter how genuine the intent of the artist?

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