King George III will not stay on the ground. Ever since an impassioned crowd in New York toppled an equestrian statue of the British monarch in 1776, burying some of the parts and boiling the rest into bullets, the king has been riding back into American visual culture, raising his gilded head in paintings, prints, and civic re-enactments. Asking why the royal statue keeps returning, this talk explores the performative nature of iconoclasm and its afterlives.
Wendy Bellion is Associate Professor of American art history at the University of Delaware. Her scholarship takes an interdisciplinary approach to the visual and material culture of the Atlantic World, focusing on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is the author of Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America (2011), which was awarded the Charles Eldridge Prize by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, a forthcoming book entitled Performing Iconoclasm: British Monuments and American Revolution.
Image credit: Pulling down the statue of George III by the "Sons of Freedom," at the Bowling Green, City of New York, July 1776, engraving by John C. McRae after a painting by Johannes A. Oertel