Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way (mural study, U.S. Capitol)

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Gallery Label
Leutze's mural study for the Capitol in Washington celebrated the idea of Manifest Destiny just when the Civil War threatened the republic. The surging crowd of figures records the births, deaths, and battles fought as European Americans settled the continent to the edge of the Pacific. Like Moses and the Israelites who appear in the ornate borders of the painting, these pioneers stand at the threshold of the Promised Land, ready to fulfill what many nineteenth-century Americans believed was God's plan for the nation.Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006
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Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department
Painting and Sculpture
On View
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, East Wing
1861
Object number
1931.6.1
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Sara Carr Upton
Artist
Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, born Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany 1816-died Washington, DC 1868
Topic
Figure group\male
Ethnic\Indian
History\United States\westward expansion
Study\mural study
Allegory\other\civilization
Travel\land\stagecoach
Medium
oil on canvas
Dimensions
33 1/4 x 43 3/8 in. (84.5 x 110.1 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Type
Painting