Scenes from English Language Literature
The subjects of the library murals were chosen from English and American literature. The Federal Art Project (FAP) of the WPA encouraged artists to consider the setting of their art. Scenes from literature certainly met that mandate; however, the peculiar choice of subjects in this case were included at the behest of the library’s Board of Directors, according to newspaper accounts at the time. The scenes draw from Hiawatha (Longfellow), Il Penseroso (Milton), Vicar of Wakefield (Goldsmith), Rip Van Winkle (Irving), King Solomon (Old Testament), Man with the Hoe (Markham), Alice in Wonderland (Carroll), Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (Gray), Complete Angler (Walton), Faerie Queene (Spenser), Pilgrim’s Progress (Bunyan), L’Allegro (Milton), Lady of Shalot (Tennyson), The Tempest (Shakespeare), Canterbury Tales (Chaucer). The artist statement notes that Miller treated her subject matter as both academic and modern, trying not to distort the forms. The arrangement of dark and light, color scheme and brush technique is more modern, with the subject more academic, thus arriving at a style please to a majority of people.
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