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Washington Allston, Secret Societies, and the Alchemy of Anglo-American Painting

Washington Allston, Secret Societies, and the Alchemy of Anglo-American Painting

Out of Print

Part of Cambridge Studies in American Visual Culture

  • Date Published: March 1997
  • availability: Unavailable - out of print July 2003
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521431538

Out of Print

Unavailable - out of print July 2003
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About the Authors
  • Known as the American Titian because of his mastery of colour, Washington Allston was one of the pre-eminent American painters of the early nineteenth century. Attuned as he was to the occult mysteries of Freemasonry and vitalistic theories of chemical optics, contemporaries interpreted the painter's transformation of pigments into light as an alchemical process that resulted in spiritual gold. Through his paintings, Allston sought to facilitate the westward progress of the arts and letters to millennial fulfilment in America. Confronting anti-theatrical, anti-Masonic criticism, Allston's alchemical paintings of angels and angelic beings also represent chemical theories of colour and optics.

    • Demonstrates the importance of Freemasonry in the development of English and American art
    • Revises the history of Anglo-American colour theory and studio practice
    • Analyses Allston's paintings in terms of audience response
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… Bjelajac has ventured courageously into murky waters that need to be explored, revealing aspects of dottiness in a period many erroneously see bathed in an Apollonian glow. His book contains much of interest …'. Apollo

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 1997
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521431538
    • length: 253 pages
    • dimensions: 261 x 188 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.89kg
    • contains: 35 b/w illus.
    • availability: Unavailable - out of print July 2003
  • Table of Contents

    1. Allston and the Masonic spirit
    2. The Venetian secret as the philosopher's stone
    3. Allston's pillow
    4. Wisdom walks with God
    5. Milk of the word or milk of poison
    6. Where angels dare to tread.

  • Author

    David Bjelajac, George Washington University, Washington DC

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