Hollywood Swallows American Football Analysis

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One of the most artistically and historically striking pieces in the Mead Art Museum of Amherst College is George Wesley Bellows’ crayon and ink depiction of American football. Football, created in 1912 is a bold sketch of two teams mid-play. The main player holding the football is completely airborne and almost separate from the rest of the group who are all in the midst of tackling one another. In the distance, a substantial crowd is visible implying this is an organized event with specific college, club, or professional teams. This artwork, while aesthetically beautiful and well drawn, also speaks to the cultural shift in sports occurring around this time. Organized events and teams became more popular as well as spectatorship. Football depicts the commencement of sports integration into mainstream popular culture and its growing influence on American lives. The details of Bellows’ work are almost entirely accomplished by crosshatching and shading that…show more content…
The popularization of it was on the rise and so was the value of masculinity. Bellows’ artistry shows distinctive facial features of the players demonstrating the tough mentality and strength needed to play. He effectively uses shading to his advantage to demonstrate the raw and chaotic nature of the play while promoting the fanfare and accessibility football was gaining. The early 20th century was a crucial moment for the popularity of sports because of media access and urbanization, which made news distribution easier and populations more homogenous. Sports took advantage of these advancements to become the main driving force in popular culture it still is today. Football gained traction into popular culture by refining the basic brawl to a game requiring brains, brawn, and guts, all captured in this common play, meant to be seen and appreciated by everyone,
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