Complete Story

OLSON, Christa J.

Fall 2018, 48.4, pages 380-404

American Magnitude: Frederic Church, Hiram Bingham, and Hemispheric Vision

Abstract: Starting in the mid-nineteenth century, travelers from the United States regularly shared pictures of their South American adventures with US audiences increasingly eager to imagine US influence spreading across the American hemisphere. Examining two well-received and broadly disseminated examples—a painting by Frederic E. Church and a photo essay by Hiram Bingham—this essay demonstrates how US viewers learned to see their own national greatness in scenes of the distant, yet still profoundly American, Andes. The essay draws attention as well to the role that such hemispheric claims to magnitude play in crafting arguments about US national import.


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