The fourth of July is coming up; the day that we celebrate with fireworks, barbecues, and good old fashioned red, white and blue! Independence Day marks the day when the United States signed the Declaration of Independence, which declared the original 13 colonies fully independent as one nation! Since 1776, the United States has been proud to be a country, and that patriotism is sewn into each American citizen. Today, we’re going to highlight the top 10 pieces that we think evoke the most patriotism, just in time for July 4th!
While America is not as old of a country as some of its counterparts, the country is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes, some of the most significant liberties, and some of the most patriotic people! That patriotism is embodied in forms of art; from paintings to American flags to war bond posters urging Americans to “join the cause!”
While the 13-star flag was first produced during the time of the first 13 colonies, there were hardly any period flags made during that time. Instead, the 13-star flag was often used as a symbol of where the nation first came from, as is displayed in this example. This 13-star flag symbolizes the 13 colonies and that early period in the nation’s history when the country was founded. The flag features hand-cut stars that are sewn against a bright blue canton. This flag flew on a naval ship in the early 20th century and still maintains its bright red, white and blue coloring.
This is an extremely rare Civil War-era 34-star flag that celebrates Kansas statehood. Kansas was admitted to the Union on January 29th, 1861, about two-and-a-half months before the first shots of the Civil War were fired. The stars on this rare flag are arranged in a very peculiar and stunning Great Star or Flower pattern, where together the stars form a larger star/flower on the canton. The star count coupled with the rare pattern put this example at one of only about a dozen flags that exist today!
Designed by renowned artist James Montgomery Flagg, this war bond poster urges onlookers to enlist in the Marines and join the cause during WWI. The poster features a strong image of a soldier in center, set against a colorful American flag. Flagg’s success stemmed from his iconic “I Want You” depiction of Uncle Sam, and spanned across various other influential poster art such as this one.
War bond posters from WWI and WWII were produced to grab the attention of the viewer; that is exactly what this poster does! Laura Brey was a teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago, whose entry into a recruitment poster contest won her the production of her poster! The imagery features a man standing in shadows as he looks out of his window at all of those who have enlisted; the message is clear and strong!
Possibly the most recognizable war bond imagery, the “I Want You!” poster by Flagg is an iconic image of American patriotism. It features Flagg’s depiction of Uncle Sam; the personification of America. Uncle Sam urges viewers to join the WWI war effort, saying “I want YOU for U.S. Army.” The image was produced first during WWI, and then reproduced later for WWII; the character and design is so iconic, that it has been circulating across the media and in the public eye ever since its first release in 1917.
What’s a better representation of the U.S. than the first president George Washington himself? An iconic image of George was painted here in the Athenaeum style, which was based off of Gilbert Stuart’s famous portrait. Stuart’s original painting was never finished, so this 20th century artist left their painting unfinished as well. The painting is a very accurate representation of George, framed in a period gold frame.
This elegant painting of Abraham Lincoln captures all of his recognizable qualities. The oil painting was produced shortly after his tragic death by an unknown artist. Although the artist is unknown, a set of initials and the date 1870 are inscribed on the bottom corner of the canvas. Abraham Lincoln’s likeness is done justice in this portrait, as a symbol of all Lincoln did to shape the U.S. into what it is today.
Hand-carved eagles hold a special place in the history of American art. These eagle often sat atop ships or houses and stood a patriotic symbol of the country. As the national bird of America, the eagle holds a great deal of symbolism. This eagle, produced in the style of Bellamy, features a banner with the phrase “Land of the Free.”
This signature collage features autographs from arguably the two best American presidents in the nation’s history; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Both signatures are featured in the center, aside two original engraved portraits. This piece ties together the histories of these two great leaders as a symbol of the spectacular presidents that the U.S. has produced in its years.
As one of the most influential works of political thought, The Federalist is definitely on the top of our list of patriotic pieces. “The Federalist” comprises the collected printing of the eighty-five seminal essays written in defense of the newly-drafted Constitution. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay first issued the essays individually in New York newspapers under the pseudonym Publius to garner support for the ratification of the Constitution. The 1802 second edition is notable for the addition of the federal constitution and the first eleven amendments.
Mitchell became one of the most prominent American map publishers of the mid-19th century and his visual record of the early Unites States gives us an incredible lens into the rapid growth of our country during this time. This engraved and hand-colored 1858 map of the United States is a wonderful example of Westward expansion and the worldwide powerhouse that America was becoming.
Douglas Adams (1853-1920) was a London based landscape painter. He exhibited in the Royal Academy between 1880 and 1894, showed at the Society of British Artists, the Grosvenor Gallery, and the New Gallery and shared a Primrose Hill studio with other artists. Adams specialized as a landscape and wildfowl painter and often painted sporting scenes. Many of his paintings celebrated the field sports of hunting, shooting, and fishing, set against stunning Highland landscapes and painted in the Victorian tradition.