Dr. Bryan Zygmont

About Dr. Bryan Zygmont

Dr. Bryan J. Zygmont is Contributing Editor for American Art. He earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland in 2006. He is currently Associate Professor of Art History at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. Zygmont is the author of Portraiture and Politics in New York City, 1790-1825: Gilbert Stuart, John Vanderlyn, John Trumbull, and John Welsey Jarvis, a book he partially wrote while a Visiting Scholar at the National Portrait Gallery. Zygmont was a Fulbright Scholar in 2013.

William Sidney Mount, Bargaining for a Horse, 1835, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches (New York Historical Society)
Americans looked to define the nation’s identity, independence, and their ideals in the nineteenth century.

1800 – 1848

John Trumbull, Declaration of Independence, 1819, oil on canvas, 366 x 549 cm (Rotunda U.S. Capitol)
The Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, and the birth of the two-party system..

1754 – 1800

Robert Walter Weir, Embarkation of the Pilgrims, 1857, oil on canvas, 122.2 x 183.5 cm (Brooklyn Museum)
With the seventeenth century came European settlers, slavery in America, and tensions between British and French forces.

1607 – 1754

Thomas Eakins, The Agnew Clinic, 1889, oil on canvas, 214 cm × 300 cm (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
From the silver used to make colonial sugar bowls to the steel used in submarines—how work, exchange, and technology have shaped the United States.

Work, exchange, and technology

Titus Kaphar, The Cost of Removal
From the humble taproom to national television, political parties have vied for power since the 18th century.

Politics and power

Stuart’s Lansdowne Portrait
Presidential portraits of George Washington were Stuart’s bread and butter when he returned to his native America.

Picturing George Washington

Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970 (Great Salt Lake, Utah)
Explore the role of geography and both the natural and human-made environments on social and political developments.

Geography and the environment

Explore how the various people who moved to and within the United States both adapted to and transformed their new environments.

Migration and settlement

Hiram Powers, The Greek Slave, model 1841-43, carved 1846, Serravezza marble, 167.5 × 51.4 × 47 cm (National Gallery of Art)
Though at first glance this nude seems plucked from classical antiquity, it actually alludes to modern politics.

A nude in Victorian America

Houdon, George Washington
Lack of an American sculptural tradition compelled Jefferson to look to France for this portrait of Washington.

Sculpting an American hero