American Folk Art

Visiting the four on-line sites devoted to “Gilded Lions and Jewelled Horses: The Synagogue to the Carousel” helped me to enhance my knowledge of Jewish woodcarvers art, and I was also provided with excellent opportunity to explore the works of American and European artists. I found out that American art has contributed developing of distinct Jewish culture within American boundaries. The works of art presented at the sites are really exuberant and refine as they reflect the history of transformation and, what is more important, of survival of cultural heritage.

The exhibitions presented amounts more than one hundred works and objects, as well as documentary photographs of synagogue arks and carved gravestones, carousel animals and sacred carvings. I learned that Jewish immigrants had to struggle to balance their observant life with reality as it was difficult for them to adjust to new environment. Nevertheless, the most interested information I learned is about the history of carousels and carousel animals – lions and horses.

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My favorite image (see picture) is a standing horse with jeweled trappings made by Marcus Charles Illions. The horse is wooden, painted and decorated with glass eyes and jewels. Illions is known to create the most animated carousel animas and his horses seemed exhausted from their eternal gallop tempers. The horses were often entailed with wild eyes and they were flying in the air. Carousels gained popularity in American and one of the possible reasons is that they were designed by diverse generation of immigrants who added distinct features to horses and lions.
The carousel industry flourished in urban centers of New York and Philadelphia as those regions were characterized by mass immigration from countries with strong carving traditions. Mostly, carousel animals were designed by Italians, Germans and Eastern Europeans. Works Cited http://www. folkartmuseum. org/default. asp? id=1869 http://www. gildedlions. org/ http://www. gildedlions. org/carousels. html http://www. gildedlions. org/welcome. html

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