Analysis Of The War Dance Sioux By George Catlin

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The War Dance, Sioux, painted in 1832, by George Catlin
In the 1830’s, George Catlin gave up his career as a lawyer to pursue his passion as an amateur painter and a surveyor of the Indian population living in North America. Catlin was highly passionate about recording his explorations on a painted canvas. It appears Catlin was not a well-trained painter or even close to being a natural artist, his deep desire helped him create historical paintings that depict facts about Indian life and their customary ways. Catlin created his War Dance, Sioux etchings in part as a response to his belief that someday this painting would be an important part of historical Indian relics.

As of February 26, 2016, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery website lists the philosophical viewpoint of George Catlin’s War Dance, Sioux painting, “Each warrior, in turn, jumps through the fire, and then advances shouting and boasting, and taking his oath, as he ‘strikes the reddened post.’”1 Catlin’s painting portrays an Indian cultural war dance ceremony held by males in an Indian village with Indian spectators gathered, possibly chanting their religious adage in support for their post battle preparation. Catlin’s encouragement came from his goal to capture the era’s historical Indian nation on canvas in hope to depict overtime the facts of the Native American life and culture. Many believe the War Dance, Sioux began as a sketch portrait and years later created as a painting by Catlin in his art studio.

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