U.S. History & Government at Miller School

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Unit 4 Reaction Post: The Lackawana Valley

Lackawana Valley

What is going on in this painting? Identify the elements, the action, and the meaning.

Describe all the elements that can be seen in this landscape, and speculate on what the young boy in the foreground might be thinking.

What might the artist have been thinking?



  1. JuliaMartins says:

    In this panting the change occurring in the landscape, economy and technology of the country is clear. We can see the rise of industries, as well as the improvements of transportation of the time period. This is shown through the representation of an area that probably used to be totally rural, with trees and agriculture, but that now is being taken over by industry which is rising in the back of the image. In the green (grassy) portion left there are tree stumps, with only one bigger tree remaining, showing the idea of deforestation. There is also a train track going through the land, representing the transportation revolution happening at the time. In the middle of the scenario there is a young boy sitting in the grass area observing the landscape in front of him, the industries, the train, and the vegetation left. It was probably a time of a lot of adaptation to the population, he is probably processing all that has changed, and what his country is becoming, with so many new things taking over what was once simple, natural, and calm. As a young boy he might as well be excited about it, the idea of change, technology, and renovations might be a reason for happiness, just like it is for most teenagers nowadays. The artist might be doing a criticism on the destruction of the natural world for the construction of industries and railroads, or maybe just simply representing a time of change in the history of the country. The landscape that people were seeing at that time, and how much change was happening in it, was the rise of the country that we have today, was the beginning of what became one of the most technological, and developed nations.

  2. Tyler says:

    This painted in oil canvas was created and completed by George Inness. This was created in 1855. There is not a lot going on in this picture. There is not a lot action in this picture. It looks like a decent day outside although its a little bit cloudy. This is due to the fact this is an oil based painting and its also very old, created in 1855. This piece of art work reminds me slight of Van Gohs stary night because its a still painting and there is not alot going on in the picture, no people, just a picture of a landscape with man made objects around it. They are so similar because I feel as if it is so simple but yet so meaningful, that I think is the best comparison between the two.

  3. NIck Leto says:

    The first thing i notice when looking at this picture is the stumps of the cut down trees which shows how people were beginning to use more land. When America was first colonized there was over one billion acres of forest, and in the early 1900s there was was only 700,000, acres of forest from the extreme deforestation from the industrial revolution. The next thing i see when looking at this is the large factory and the steam engine train. In my opinion on what the boy is thinking is probably how advanced the country has gotten within a few decades. Another thing the boy might be thinking is that he is ready for change and excited by the new industries. The artist when painting this was probably displaying how there are new technological discoveries and that the world is changing around us and is here to stay.

  4. Quyen says:

    In this painting, there are tree stumps which is the result of cutting down trees. Also there is a train with lots of exhaust. The train looks like it was just coming from a town with factories. The factories seem to be producing lots of exhaust as well. This painting seems to be the result of the rise of industries. The development of factories and the deforestation of trees show that they are using the resources and land for industrial purposes. The purpose of the painting was to show that the Lackawanna Valley was once heavily forested and now the land is industrialized. The boy with the hat sitting on the hill looking over the scenery represents the change in lifestyle. The boy could be a farmer who lost his job. Since factories had machines that could do all the work, his skills would not have been needed. So he maybe was pondering over at the industrialization that replaced his job. The artist was probably trying to depict the rise of industry. Although this painting is trying to show advancement, all I see is the destruction of American wilderness because of the deforestation and pollution in our nature.

  5. Emily says:

    The painting is based in a large open field from a first person perspective, the viewer’s eye is supposed to be drawn to the vastness of the open space. My eye is drawn to the boy under the tree in the feild, looking off into the distance that consists of factories and trains. This clearly ties into the industrial revolution and how it changed the land surrounding it. The young boy likely is not used to the large factories, and is uncomfortable by the changes. The train tracks lie between the boy in the field and the industrial factories. It shows that the boy is watching from an area that he feels more comfortable with; the field. It represents familiarity and maybe even home to the young boy. The train tracks represent a barrier that he creates between himself and this new and unfamiliar industrial world. As he sits under the tree, he is likely pondering on his life now, how it was before and all of the uncertainty that will come along with the revolution.

  6. Jane Tullis says:

    In the painting, Lackawana Valley, it depicts American history. It is painted by George Inness in 1855. The painting includes a few standing trees, tree stumps, a boy, a train on railroad tracks, cut grass, a town, factories and their smoke. During this time period, people were expanding western and we know this in the picture because of all the trees cut down. By cutting all the trees down, they were able to build railroad track for trains. In the field with fresh cut grass, there sits a farmer, the boy, pondering about what is to come for America and what is in it for him. In the distance, there is a town with factories. This depicts the industrial revolution and the future America. I think the little boy is sitting back observing how America is evolving. He could also be sitting in the present looking out into the future and dreaming of what is to come in America. I also think he was not at ease because as he sits there, he is watching nature be destroyed. He is a farmer so he is worried about the factories because it could jeopardize his earnings or how much he makes from farming and the demand for crops. The artist may have been thinking about how America is changing or evolving from his own experience. The artist could be the farmer sitting in the grass and he is painting what it looks like from his perspective and from his emotions.

  7. ethan chenault says:

    This painting is interesting and very insightful. In this painting there is a little boy looking over a town of industry while sitting in a field on the countryside. There is a steam train headed his way that may be bring goods or even people to his town or other towns around him. In this painting, steam industry is emphasized and out of every building, factory, and train is steam. At this time everything was switching from guilds and master craftsmen to industry and mass production. So in this picture it is almost like he watching the times change as he is growing up. This boy might be thinking why is this happening to my town or he could be happy that times are changing. Teenagers these days love change; for example, when the new iphone comes out every teen in america wants that phone more than everything. This boy could be thinking that. He might love the change that is happening and looks forward to the future of technology and products. When the artist painted this he could’ve been trying to make a statement of how rapidly america changed and how it changed for the better for the youth of america.

  8. Sana Mir says:

    The painting shows a huge field and by the first glance it looks like a beautiful landscape, but as you pay closer attention you see that all the trees have been cut down and there are stumps everywhere. In one way when I look at the picture it calms me down and gives a romantic feeling but the on the other hand when looking at the details it mostly spreads a sadness. You can see the signs of industrialization almost like it is trying to show the fields before its destruction. If you pay attention you can see alit boy sitting right on a hill and if you ask me it symbolizes the attitude of those times in real life. Everyone seemed to be blinded by progress, no one saw how the land was being affected.

  9. nickkim18 says:

    One of the most famous paintings by George Inness “Lackawanna Valley”, the author displays and signify the ideology of Industrialization, deforestation, and foreshadowing of romanticism. At our first glance as readers, we could draw the conclusion that there is an emergence of industrializing and destruction of unspoiled nature due to the deforested trees and grass; however, there is a deeper meaning that Inness wants to purpose. primarily, The boy sitting on the hill caught my eyes at my observation. And I believe that the boy is symbolism of new industrialization because his generation is the first ones to face the modernization. Indicating that these industrialization and modification has taken a step further to come along towards the new American. Although this might seem like a step towards the new society, we could conclude another conclusion saying that rise of romanticism is on its way.

  10. Shawn Lu says:

    This painting is the Lackawanna Valley. It is drawn by George Inness in 1855 after the first Industrial Revolution. In this painting, we can see a village with few factories in the back and there is a railroad crossing the village. In the middle of the painting, a train is running. Most of the trees are cut down to create the railroad and we can see wood piles on both sides of the railroad in the middle of the painting. There is a boy sitting beside a tree in the foreground. He may be a farmer and this land may use to be his farm. He probably is thinking why did they destroy all my farm for a railroad and he may feel angry and unhappy. Or, maybe he just a boy playing around in the filed. He may feel this landscape looks pretty good because there are trees and other green plants. It is not like the Industrial Revolution in Britain which the environment is terrible. I think the artist is thinking that people should be happy because the industry fits with nature very well. Party of the forest is remain and factories did not damage the environment too much since the sky is still blue and most of the painting is green.

  11. Gabe Beroza says:

    This painting shows a train, a boy, a lone tree and some factories. It is a representation of industry rising in the united states. The large trains tracks go through the middle of a clear cut forest with one remaining tree. It shows a young boy looking out upon the now industrial zone that was once merely forest. He is watching the train come closer as how people watched industry take over and consume the country. He could be thinking of the loss of nature or the promise of work. There are factories shooting out smoke in the background showing that deforestation had already occurred as man made its mark. The train running through two dense forests shows how industry cannot be stopped by nature. The artist was showing the contrast between agriculture and industry, and how such old big trees that could be permanent were cut down in one swoop.

  12. Jack M says:

    This picture has many different aspects and it is very detailed. When America colonized there was a ton of forestry. I recently talked about this in my Land Management course. The forestry drops down to around 700,000 thousand in the early 20th century. This relates to the picture because America was started to use more land and i depicted that in the picture with all of the cut down trees. The large factory and steam engine train shows how America as a whole has developed throughout a course of a couple hundred of years. I believe the boy is analyzing how industry and the new technological advancements have changed America. The artist did a very good job when painting this, it depicts many different thoughts and feelings about the American industry and advances as a whole.

  13. Jeremy Wagner says:

    In this painting it shows a few factories, a train, and a little boy in red. This image is showing the time period of the industrial revolution which was a big boom for human population. This image shows a bunch of stumps in the ground from where they clear cut the woods most likely for new factories to be built or for more land for farmers to grow there crops.. There is a little boy in the picture and he is most ;likely thinking that times are changing, and there is new factories being built ruining the woods. If i were the boy i would be thinking “ wow things are a lot different and more and more factories are being built destroying the land and that i better take the time to enjoy it before everything is cut down. The artist is trying to show the first stages of changes in the industry.

  14. yuechun yao says:

    In the painting, it is clear that industrial revolution and transportation revolution is going on at that time. In the middle of the painting, I can see some factories and the white smog is rising from these factories. It indicated the rise of country’s economy. People are working in the factories instead of farming. Furthermore, I see the railroad across the field and a steam train is running on it. These also indicate that the transportation revolution is happening which greatly increase the life quality for citizens and creates a huge convenience to the merchant class because it enables them to trade goods in a long distance. In the front of the picture which has a large grassland, there are many trunks. It shows there may be a forest existed in the past, but now people are cut down the trees in order to build some new factories. Since the sky is still very blue, it may implies the industrial revolution just begins. If it is the end of the industrial revolution, the sky should be gray die to the heavy air pollution which created by factories. The industrial revolution raises the standard of living for most class; people start enjoying their life. In this picture, it also reveals this idea. There is a man lay on the grassland where right beside the big tree. He seems very relaxed and enjoys his time. There is many yellow and green involved in the painting which creates a peaceful and warm feeling. By looking at the painting, people can feel a positive hope for the future of the country and a satisfaction of this revolution.

  15. Aundre says:

    In this picture it seems like a young boy is looking out into the country and seeing factories with smole coming out of it. This has something the do with the Industrila Revoltuion happening in America at this time. This could possibly be in the north, because the south stayed away from factories. They were benfitting a lot from slavery work on the plantations that they didn’t need to have any factories. There’s also a railroad with a train. This picture depicts a change in time, it’s foreshadowing what the world is going to be like now. This could be a big change for the boy because a couple months ago the field he’s noew could’ve been empty with just trees and grass. This could be the first step to urbanization in this area. It would later lead to a population boost. Former farmers will be looking for jobs, because they’re going to be losing business to the factories. The picture also shows how the tress that were once there are cut down. I think that’s a sign for that they’re going to clear more space for more factories and railroads to be made. I think the boy is thinking about how everything changed. The author did a great job on showing the differences from where the boy is to where the factories and the train are at.

  16. Tyler says:

    This painted in oil canvas was created and completed by George Inness. This was created in 1855. There is not a lot going on in this picture. There is not a lot action in this picture. It looks like a decent day outside although its a little bit cloudy. This is due to the fact this is an oil based painting and its also very old, created in 1855. This piece of art work reminds me slight of Van Gohs stary night because its a still painting and there is not a lot going on in the picture, no people, just a picture of a landscape with man made objects around it. They are so similar because I feel as if it is so simple but yet so meaningful, that I think is the best comparison between the two. The things I see in this picture primarily is the cut down trees and thinking about what I had just learned in class, this is due to the fact they were looking for more land because either there crop soil is drying out or running out of nutrients.This was pained during in the Industrial Revolution and this was a significant time period in American History. There are a few factories, a train, tree stumps and a lot of smoke was coming from those factories probably due to all the work being done in there. There are not only women and younger girls working in there but now at this time there are immigrants and slaves now too. This was an issue for a while that dealt with white supremacy because the white women who have been working there forever had a sense of equality just because there were slaves working in the factory with them. This was an issue and was what I think to my knowledge the real first outbreak of white supremacy. From this point out whites had to prove them self to be the most powerful.

  17. AAAmily says:

    It is a “Hudson River School”-style romantic painting at the first glance of the overall rose-tinted background and the beautiful landscape. However, looking closely, a big harsh tree stump right in the middle of the bottom of the painting catches my eyes. Tracing along the railroads, we can find a whole lot stumps all over the foreground. By the completion of this painting in 1856, a huge change had taken place in the United States during 19th century — the technology development caused industrialization in both urban areas and countrysides. The steam engine train in this painting can be considered as the symbol of the rise of industries, as well as the improvements of transportation system at that time. This painting represents that the adaption of The Lackawanna Valley from a village with greens and agriculture to a modern industrialized area containing railroads and factories. As we can see, there is only one huge tree remaining, which stands in the painting across all horizontal layers. Although the aridity shows the idea of deforestation, the artist’s personal opinion is still not cleared. In my opinion, the boy in red right in the center of the painting may represent the author. He is staring at the industrialized city, and we cannot see his facial expression and emotion. He may just planning to criticize on the destruction of natural for human’s own selfish needs, or he may eulogize the time of change in the history that led to another whole new era of America. The similar idea also appears in Thomas Cole’s five-part series painting “The Course of Empire”. Cole uses five images to strengthen the power of nature, and the cruelty of it. But Cole also mentions how grateful human being are by drawing out those glorious civilization our progenitors built in the second part of the painting. Although most people today do consider “The Course of Empire” as an pure Romanticism work underlining the power of nature, it is possible that it actually praises the developing human civilizations and technologies, just like the painting of The Lackawanna Valley.

  18. Thomas-Louis Deshaies says:

    Thomas-Louis Deshaies

    The painting of Lackawana Valley

    In the painting we can see 4 different part with all different signification , actions or sign. The painting represent the Lackawana Valley . Start by the first part of the painting , the part at the bottom of the painting . We can see a kind a little trail or road with a little boy in the middle of a forest cut , because we see the somes stumps on the painting , probably for the expansion of the industry we see more in the middle of the painting . The second part of the painting , if we check on the left we can see a railroad in a middle of a field . Who probably is from one of the industry , and probably full of commodity . On the right just behind the railroad a normal road in some dirt , probably a road for ease the access to the commodity for the industry . In the third part , we can see a town with a big road in middle , a church, at the background but very far . The other big thing we can see is the steam of the fireplace from the factories buildings who mean we are probably in the 19 century during the industrial part .In the last part we see the blue sky and the some mountains in the background . We can very see the expansion of the industrialisation on this painting just with the how the painting is paint , we can feel the industrialisation be more and more close of the little boy . I am pretty sure it’s one of the thought of the boy . I think he think at the change , at the change of the industrial revolution , he probable don’t know what is this , but I pretty sure he see the town change very fast . With the arrival of the railroad and the industry . I think he is thinking about on fast this happen and how every things change . In second , I am pretty sure he think about the field and what they will do with this giant field , what they will build, industry , apartment , home. He probably know they don’t clear all this forest for no reason .

    Now talk about how the artist have thinking when he painted this painting and what he would say . First I think the topic of this painting his the arrival of the industrialisation in United-States , because a lot of fact are there the locomotive and the steam who leads to think directly at the factory . I think in the painting the artist want to show the effect of the industrialisation in a town with the kind of forest cut , the railroad and the locomotive for show us how all this change the life , the view and everything in the society . In conclusion I think he was thinking about the industrialisation during the 19 century .

  19. Tariq says:

    In the picture above, we see a rural valley which consists of many things that would lead to one believing that it was some sort of farm/factory. Yet I believe there is more to the photo than what meets the eye in the first case we notice a steam train, this is symbolic of the hard work as well as the improvements we start to make as human’s in gaining the ability to achieve more production at a faster rate. The train tracks in the picture represent the idea that the technology we are creating is being driven throughout the country to help build the new world. With all of this being said you take into account the vast amount of tree stumps, this goes to show the battle between innovation and nature as one may have to subside in order for the other to succeed and with that being said a prime example is the cutting of trees for things such as day to day household/ classroom furniture. However, what the child in this picture may be seeing could be more than that, they could be seeing a struggle that may make them question the need for constant industrialization, that why can’t things just stay the same? I feel like the artist is trying was trying to create juxtaposition between the two contrasting ideas; nature and machinery. As he shows that nature is working hand in hand with the very thing that is destroying it. Which may lead to its downfall in the near future. To conclude the painting can be seen as a warning message for those who are stuck on the idea of innovation being the key to progression in life. in my personal opinion I believe it is great but should be limited to the speeds of how things come for e.g. we should not cut more trees than are planted or that we should not use more water than is recycled.

  20. morgan says:

    This painting’ s name is the lackawanna valley. when I first time looking at this painting, it shows a beautiful countryside. The trees and the houses. But when I see this painting carefully, I see the cutting down tree behind the big tree. And I also see the behind the field, there are a lot of house, which is the fatorcy. The smog around the factory. The railroad across the field. This painting shows the industry revolution. A very big conflict in this painting, the conflict between industry and the nature. In this beautiful field, the author shows how industry damage the nature. People cutting down the trees, and the smog of the industry become pollution. The railroad across the field also make the pollution. The boy who lay on the field shows he was very enjoy this field. Maybe the boy was very cherish this environment, because he see the change in his hometown, maybe he notices that after some time he can not enjoy this environment anymore. Because the industry. During the industrial revolution, people develop the industry, but people also damage the nature a lot. So, the author use this painting to shows the industry revolution.

  21. Stellaaaa says:

    The Lackawanna Valley is painted by George Inness in 1855. He portrays the landscape of the Lackawanna Valley in Pennsylvania when trains pass by. It is a village where has many factories with smoke rolling up from the chimney. The railroad is built by the federal government around 1840 for trading and communicating with other states. It is apparent that many trees are cut and left plenty tree stumps in the big field. People may need land to establish new factories and expand the village. And there is a boy staring into the distance and thinking about something. Maybe he thinks about where is the woods that he used to play and pick fresh fruit. He feels disappointed, and also feels unknown about what is going to happen in the future. Inness looks like a romanticist who believes that the industrial revolution is bad for people because it ruins the nature and the world. The village looks unsightly because of the tree stumps in the forehead which represents the destruction of industrialization. But there is a forest far away, which compares with unappealing tree stumps to illustrate the beauty of nature. He wants to remind people how fascinating the world before and tries to stop the expansion of industrialization. He hopes that he can use his painting to prevent people from destroying their own village and awake the people’s love and respect for nature.

    I use this website as the reference. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lackawanna_Valley

  22. rachel says:

    In this picture I see industrialization all over it, from the train going past, the smoke from the factories and all the cut down tree stumps surrounding the boy. The boy in the foreground I have a few different ideas about what he is thinking about. I think he most likely thinking about how great the industrialization is since it was just at its beginning and it was bringing so many great things to America. It was giving us faster ways to get place and faster ways to comunicate.It was also giving us faster ways to harvest which would mean more money for farmers which he looks like he may be one. My other idea would be that he’s looking upon this industrialization as a horrific thing, all those new factories making items faster with less cost. He could’ve been the child of an artisan who once industry came along, most lost their jobs due to the cost of their products in comparison to those coming from the factory. My last thought on this piece is that he would be looking at it in disappointment due to them ruining the nature around them, in the thought that he is a person with romantic views and seeing them take away nature is a very bad thing. If comparing it to my last thought I would connect the painting to a painting that we looked at last year in history that was apart of a five set collection. The painting showed how humans took over nature starting with only nature ending with houses built up. One of the five there is a man or indian who is looking down on the land and he is seeing human civilization taking over nature.

  23. At the first glimpse, I find this painting a typical romantic painting. There is a big tree on the left to show the depth of this art. The view and the details like the train, the smokes, and the factories behind, all those elements are combined in a just enough peaceful and beautiful way. I think that this painting might show the perfect combination between industrialization and nature. However, as I keep on observing the picture, I find the roots that are left off of the tree cutting all over the painting in the front. Especially the boy sitting near the tree makes me doubting my own feeling about the picture. The boy looks so lonely sitting there watching at dusk, from the impression of this painting, I think he is thinking about the nature that he used to live in, or, he might even be the one that cuts down the trees, but he regrets what he had done. After thinking about the boy, I start to notice the hue of this painting, it is more like dark green and dark yellow with no bright color, and the grass (which is the green) is fading away replacing by the dirt (which is the dark yellow) distinctly. The most crucial element of this painting, I think, is the train that cuts right through the middle of the painting. This line, the railroad, is destroying the natural landscape, and we can see the train is coming from the factories in the back of the painting, and the smoke that the train is blowing. All those signs lead to the essential message that the artist wants to express with this painting; the industrialization is ruining the nature and the world.

  24. Dae Dae Heard says:

    This painting is the Lackawanna Valley. It is drawn by George Inness in 1855 after the first Industrial Revolution. I can see a town with a couple factories in the back and there is a railroad crossing the village. In the middle of the painting, a train is running. A lot the trees are cut down to create the railroad and we can see wood piles on both sides of the railroad. There is a boy sitting next to a tree looking at how much his town has changed. The boy’s family probably owned a lot of the land that they used to build a railroad. He probably is thinking about all the fun times he had running and playing the trees but it is all over because they cleared it out for a railroad and a couple factories. He may be thinking the change isn’t all that bad he can still see the blue in the sky and the green on the ground. The boy might not have that much of a problem with the new change, it could be making his family more money. I think the artist is trying to show a change in the environment but not that it is not ruining the entire thing.

  25. Boulton Chase says:

    The first thing I think about when I look at this painting is how the times were changing and technology was beginning to emerge. Most all trees were cut down to make room for the train created by Richard Trevithick. The boy is sitting by the last standing tree maybe thinking that he does not like this new change because it takes away from the beautiful scenery or maybe this is where he lived. He also could be thinking that this is a good thing because now goods and merchandise can easily be transported to the consumers across the country. It also looks like there are a few new factories in the back ground again showing how times were changing. The Artist of this painting may be trying to convey his theory about how even though times were changing and things were beginning to get a little strange there is still good in the world. Even though humans can make change and invent new things that can have positive and negative effects, there will always be cool and unique things to look at.

  26. Joe Cermin says:

    In this picture, it shows how the industry started to take over nature. Railroads and trains are in this picture showing that the technology was advancing and mother nature is not that important anymore. The cut down trees show the careless acts of man who wants to make money in the industry buisness. The little boy could be watching the train go by in amazement, or he could be very sad that the tree he is next to will most likely be cut down soon. he sees all the other stumps and is sad about it. The factories next to each other are all being used and they could be competitors in the industry. The setting is in the mountain region and is just starting to get railroads, buildings, and cut down down trees. The expression of the boy will not be known, but many guesses could be made. The boy could be the son of a factory owner and he could be playing on the hill.

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