Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

Critical Assessment of Public and Historical Visual Culture

In this video, Melanie Manos gives an overview of critical assessment of public and historical visual culture.
<v ->So here we are at a monument to General Casimir Pulaski.</v>
So the form: It’s a monument, it’s a sculpture. It’s figurative, meaning it’s a figure. It’s in a Classical Realist style sculpture. It’s also on a plinth. So the form is vertically raised. The content is historic. He was a general, lived from 1748 to 1779.
And so he was a general in the American Revolutionary War.
Content: The context is and it says on the plaque here that Casimir was from Poland and came to fight in the Revolutionary War. The further context is that this was given to the city of Detroit by the nearly 400,000 Polish residents of Metropolitan Detroit in 1966.
So for them, it was representative. This statue is named after General Macomb and he became, a county is named after him, a shopping mall, Macomb Mall, and probably a lot of other things. So his name continues to be part of the legacy of this region. You’ll notice that the choices that are made here create a hierarchy. He’s a lot bigger than me,
I have to look up.
It’s up above me, it’s authoritative. It’s, one might say, paternalistic. Also, military. So not only a general, but an actual cannon. Here I am at a monument to Hazen S. Pingree, former mayor of Detroit. much beloved, according to the signage. And again, you see the form is a plinth, actually several layers of plints, he’s tall. So putting the mayor up quite high in a majestic position, authoritative, in a relaxed pose, actually. Probably comfortable with his authority. So he is a figurative sculpture, a white male and political.
It said here, “The idol of the people.” So part of the historical public culture here at Woodward and Adams Street, again, in Detroit, Michigan, United States. So here we are at the Russell A. Alger historical fountain. That’s not Russell. That is, has been quoted as the bronze personification of Michigan, an allegorical female figure. So many monuments that have female figures are in allegorical form, not an actual person.
Russell Alger is in the little circle there below the bronze personification of Michigan female figure. It says “Soldier, Statesman, Citizen.”

This video gave an overview of critical assessment of public and historical visual culture utilizing monuments found in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America.

To view more public and visual historical culture of the city of Detroit, MI, U.S. visited in the video, visit Historic Detroit and search for ‘monuments’.

You can also view another example of figurative historical culture, the Statue of Unity, Sadhu-Bet Island, India or an example of female allegorical monument, The Motherland Calls, Volgograd, Russia.

This article is from the free online

Visualizing Women's Work: Using Art Media for Social Justice

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now