The County Election (1851-52) by George Caleb Bingham

The County Election - George Caleb Bingham - 1846

Artwork Information

TitleThe County Election
ArtistGeorge Caleb Bingham
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions35 7/16 x 48 3/4 in.
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationThe Saint Louis Art Museum

About The County Election

The artwork entitled “The County Election” was masterfully created by George Caleb Bingham in 1846. As an oil on canvas, this genre painting embodies the Romanticism art movement and measures 35 7/16 x 48 3/4 inches. The artwork is presently housed in The Saint Louis Art Museum, where it contributes to the narrative of American cultural and political history.

“The County Election” depicts a bustling scene of an election day in the mid-19th century, showcasing a variety of individuals engaged in the democratic process. At the heart of the artwork is the depiction of voter participation and influence, with figures assembled around a polling station. The diverse array of characters includes men casting their votes, engaging in debate, awaiting their turn, and even those who have succumbed to the effects of intoxication. Nearly hidden among the adults is a boy, whose eager and innocent gaze hints at the future generation’s role in continuing the democratic tradition.

The painting captures the raw energy and atmosphere of the time with a keen eye for detail. The setting is characterized by a crisp sky and detailed architecture that serves as the backdrop for the spirited activities in the foreground. The artist’s ability to render human expression and interaction showcases the tension, enthusiasm, and camaraderie often associated with political events. Above all, this artwork serves as a window into the American spirit, emphasizing the critical role of the vote, the prevalence of political discussion, and the communal nature of elections. It stands as an important cultural artifact that reflects the democratic values of its era.

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