In this lesson, you will examine various works of American art. For every era in U.S. history, there is artwork that reflects the major events that characterize that period. Paintings, music, and literary works are common forms of art that illustrate the events of a specific period. Examine the various forms of art below. Can you tell what is depicted in each of them? Click on each image to compare your answers.

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Image of the Shaw Memorial

This sculpture is called Shaw’s Memorial. It depicts Colonel Robert Shaw and his regiment of African-American volunteer troops who fought in the Civil War. Close Pop Up
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Image of a woman holding a baby, she is flanked by two other small children who have their heads turned away from the camera

This photo was taken by Dorothea Lange, a photojournalist who documented the impact of the Great Depression on migrant farmers. Close Pop Up
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Mural of five scenes of various people playing instruments or singing

This painting, The Sources of Country Music, was painted by Thomas Hart Benton, an American painter, who at 85, reflected on the history of country music and its evolution. Close Pop Up

The works of art above are examples of how Americans expressed their thoughts and feelings about important events in U.S. history. American visual art, music, and literary masterpieces have shaped American culture and have impacted the world. This lesson will examine the relationship between art and important events in American history.

Sources for images used in this section, as they appear, from top to bottom: