Tag Archives: America

A Brief History of Political Cartoons

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a political cartoon could be considered a lengthy editorial.

Today, political cartoons have the power to catch a reader’s eye in a sea of digital information but once upon a time political cartoons were vital to the consumption of information by society at large.

Take a journey to the beginning of political caricature drawings to fully understand how this art form stood the test of time.

In the Beginning

Even though caricature drawing was around during the time of Leonardo da Vinci, it was not considered art until politics got involved. However, a shift in thinking began to occur when, in the 16th century, a merchant class began to arise. This meant that leadership in civilized societies no longer belonged exclusively to high-class-educated-folk. People within the villages were seen as leaders too, even though several of them were illiterate.

The power of the middle class was recognized by Martin Luther, who was passionate about advancing reforms that went against the Catholic Church. To gain support for these reforms, Luther acquired visual tools. Using pamphlets like Passional Christi und Antichristi allowed Luther to spread his message of reform and gain the support of people who could not read.

Then came Benjamin Franklin

In 1754, another milestone in political art occurred when Benjamin Franklin had “Join, or Die.published in the Pennsylvania Gazette. In it, he used a picture of a disjointed snake to represent the importance of the colonies coming together to overcome conflict with the Iroquois. The image and slogan were revered by people in every colony, and the authors of The Ungentlemanly Art: A history of American Political Cartoons claim it was published in “virtually every newspaper on the continent.”

Following the Civil War

Thomas Nast has been called the “Father of the American Cartoon.” In fact, he is credited for elevating the elephant and donkey to positions of political notoriety. More so, President Lincoln often referred to Nast as “his best recruiting sergeant.” But arguably, Nast’s most famous cartoon could be found in Harper’s Weekly as early as 1871. He drew pictures of the corrupt politician William “Marcy” Tweed, which garnered “one of the most celebrated specimens of graphic social protest in American history.”

Political Cartoons Today

Political cartoons and cartoonists can have just as much influence today as they did before the Information Age. However, the type of influence is different. Rather than provoking people to take action (as they did in the past), political cartoons are excellent teachers of history. The World Affairs Council claims, “Because a political cartoon is a primary source from a particular era, it is a valuable tool for teaching history.”

In the Information Age, when words are plentiful but facts are fleeting, political cartoons disrupt mundane content, evoke curiosity and enable readers to learn about historical events – not from a textbook, but from self-guided quests.

The history of political cartoons goes far deeper than this article, and, if history is any indication, it will continue for years to come. Stay tuned.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

The Style and Poise of a Colonial American Portrait Painter

Thomas Moran – American Landscape Painter

What is Art? A Brief History of the Definition of Art

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American Flag Trivia – Happy Fourth of July!

 
Test Your Knowledge of America’s FlagIn the United States, the Fourth of July holiday is upon us. This holiday is special in many ways. On a surface level, it marks a day without work; a time reserved for family and friends to come together and partake in traditions like parades, barbeques and fireworks displays.

Beyond the celebration lies the true reason why people gather. The Fourth of July is a time to remember the sacrifices that were made to ensure America’s independence and honor the men and women who keep the country free.  To symbolize this reality, the vast majority of Americans fly the American flag for all to see. But what exactly does the American flag mean?

The Fourth of July is a holiday most people understand, but when it comes to the American flag, a larger number of people misinterpret its meaning.

How much do you know about the American flag? Test your knowledge with these trivia questions.

1. How many colors are on the American flag?

a. 2        b. 3        c. 4         d. trick question

2. How many stripes are on the American flag?

a. 13      b. 26      d. 50      d. trick question

3. The colors of the American flag were originally taken from England’s flag, the Union Jack.

a. True                b. False                c. trick question

4. In what year was a committee formed to develop the country’s Great Seal?

a. 1782                 b. 1777                 c. 1776                 d. trick question

5. In what year was the Great Seal adopted?

a. 1782                 b. 1777                 c. 1776                 d. trick question

6. What national figurehead claimed the color red in the American flag signified courage?

a. Charles Thomson         b. Ronald Reagan             c. Mike Buss        d. trick question

7. The flag can be flown in any kind of weather.

a. True                 b. False                c. trick question

8. Wearing a t-shirt with the American flag printed on it is okay.

a. True                 b. False                c. trick question

Answer Key:

1. c | 2. a | 3. a | 4. c | 5. a | 6. b |7. a (if the flag is designed for stormy weather) | 8. b (“The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.”)

How did you fair in Segmation’s American flag trivia?

Learn more about America’s flag, the Fourth of July, and good ol’ fashion patriotism.

Also, take time to enjoy fun activities like Segmation’s digital paint-by-number Fourth of July pattern set: http://www.segmation.com/products_online_choosepattern.asp?order=alph&cat=fju.

And here are some additional red, white and blue craft ideas: https://segmation.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/color-the-fourth-of-july-with-red-white-and-blue-crafts/.

 Happy Fourth of July from Segmation!

Fourth of July BBQ Mr. Firecracker Watching Fireworks Statue of Liberty Fireworks Striped Stars Patriotic Teddy Bear Fireworks

 

Read more Segmation blog posts about the Fourth of July:

Happy President’s Day!

United States Presidents Were Skilled Musicians

Do you have a Memorial Day Quote?

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Color the Fourth of July with Red, White, and Blue Crafts

Color the Fourth of July with Red, White, and Blue CraftsAmerica’s founding fathers faced the tough task of establishing a country and creating a symbol to represent its beliefs. Since start, the American flag has been positioned to embody the nation’s mission and relay its values to others. In its course of existence, the flag has been adopted by new generations and become a beacon of hope to many.

More so, the American flag is a point of pride for the United States. If you are an American, how much do you know about the symbol that represents your country’s patriotism? And for all readers, have you ever wondered why the American flag is red, white, and blue? Or how the concept evolved into this organized design?

A Brief History of the American Flag

The American flag came into being after the Continental Congress authorized a committee to create an official seal for the developing nation. The design needed to reflect the beliefs and values that the founding fathers laid out in the Declaration of Independence.

The colors and symbols used in the seal were chosen to serve a purpose. Eventually these colors were transferred to the flag, which has gone through many variations to become the symbol of freedom that is recognized and cherished today.

The Symbolism of the American Flag’s Colors and Design

  • Vertical stripes (white)- purity and innocence
  • Red stripes- hardiness and valor
  • Blue- vigilance, perseverance, and justice
  • Stars- heavenly/divine goals
  • Stripes- rays of light

Celebrate the Fourth of July with Arts and Craft

If you want to celebrate the festiveness of Independence Day and carry on the historic symbolism seen in the American flag, learn more about these arts and craft ideas:

1)      Help your kids decorate their rooms or the backyard with “Cascading Stars” – http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/stars/cascadeofstars/

2)      Line your yard with “Patriotic Pinwheels,” or bring them along to a parade – http://crafts.kaboose.com/patriotic-pinwheel.html

3)      If you are up for a challenge, try making your own “Festive Window Swag” – http://www.marthastewart.com/909615/festive-window-swag

The American Flag is a symbol of patriotism, hope, and respect throughout the United States. It is also a representation of history that calls citizens to remember the nation’s founding fathers.

When you see American flags, what positive thoughts come to mind? Do you think of purity and innocence, valor and vigilance, perseverance, justice, divine goals, and rays of light? If not, what can you do to participate in America’s original mission and represent these characteristics to all people?

Also, Segmation is interested to know, if you could make a flag to describe yourself, what colors would you use and why?

Read more Segmation blog posts about the Fourth of July:

Happy President’s Day!

United States Presidents Were Skilled Musicians

Do you have a Memorial Day Quote?

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

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Thomas Eakins – America’s Master of Realism Painter

 Thomas Eakins - America's Master of Realism

 Thomas Eakins - America's Master of Realism thumbnails

New Pattern Set for SegPlayPC recently released (see more details here)

Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (1844-1916) was an American painter who is best known for his realistic depictions of the male body. Eakins’s quest for realism led him to study anatomy and apply his research to creating works with dark lighting and realistic depictions. He endured much public scorn in his early years for his obsession with the male figure, however was recognized as a great master towards the end of his life. Our pattern set includes a self portrait, several sculling and wrestling scenes. His most recognized works including “The Swimming Hole”, “The Gross Clinic”, “Baby at Play”, and “The Agnew Clinic” are also included. There are also many portraits included such as “Miss Amelia Van Buren”, “Portrait of Maud Cook”, “Maybelle”, “Lucy Lewis”, “Weda Cook”, “Alice Kurtz”, and “Walt Whitman”.

This set contains 42 paintable patterns. How exciting and fun!

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