Carey’s documentary on Vanderlyn, The First Artist in America: The Life and Times of John Vanderlyn, describes a local artist unable to reach his true potential. A man whose whose personality stood in the way of his success.
John Vanderlyn was born in Kingston in 1775. Aaron Burr served as his patron, and sent him to Paris to study neoclassical painting. Vanderlyn became the first American painter formally trained in Paris. This apprenticeship would inform his work and sometimes put him at odds with puritanical American audiences. When he returned to America to show his painting Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos, arguably his most famous work, the nudity caused a minor scandal and resulted in separate viewings for men and women.
Carey hopes there will be interest among local viewers, and that they will feel compelled to research resources in Kingston like the Senate House Museum, which houses the largest collection of Vanderlyn’s work. “He always considered Kingston home, and it’s the local-boy-made-good story,” he says. “He didn’t really grow up in Kingston—he spent a lot of time in Europe—but he always came back home.”
Event Type(s): Adult
Presenter: Tobe Carey
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