Study of a Man Reading by George Caleb Bingham, created between 1844-49, is an exemplary artwork that showcases Bingham’s ability to depict everyday life and social aspects of the era. Bingham was an American artist famous for his paintings that depicted American life in frontier lands near the Missouri River. This particular painting beautifully portrays a man at leisure, engrossed in reading a book.
Bingham’s work was rediscovered during the 1930s after being left in obscurity for several years. His oeuvre captures everyday scenes from different parts of America, primarily focused on boatmen and trappers along the Missouri River. “Study of a Man Reading” provides us with not only visual art but also cultural and historical views.
Apart from being an artist, Bingham was also into politics and held various offices throughout the mid-19th century. Additionally, besides “Study of a Man Reading,” one of his masterpieces is “The Jolly Flatboatmen,” which now rests formally in The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.” Thus, George Caleb Bingham is recognized as one of America’s greatest painters with artworks featuring glimpses into the lifestyle during that period alongside luminist-style influences.”