Cowboy art prints has been around since their role appeared historically. Traditionally cowboys functioned as ranch-hands in charge of caring for and driving cattle. By the nature of the work, these were often young men who would brave the natural challenges inherent to living and working in the wild. They were men familiar with horses and the livestock under their care. They were also intimately acquainted with natural perils of outdoor travel. The sun could become deadly, the wind could blind, the rain, the sleet, the snow could be both life-giving or life-endangering. Perhaps it is not surprising that such men would become a symbol of American strength and individualism.
Contemporary depictions of cowboys span the breadth of possibilities from historically accurate realism to abstract and everything in between. Traditionally, many cowboy artists portray these figures realistically. Cowboys of the American West have come represent certain cultural values such as individualism, strength, freedom, manhood, and pragmatism. In line with such ideas, cowboy art prints often portrays the cowboy subject in a ‘straight forward’ way. Some artists choose to create paintings capturing a realistic and historically accurate moment for a ranch-hand. These scenes may include the cowboy, his horse, the livestock, and the natural western landscape. However, such stereotypical scenes are not necessarily the only focus of historical cowboy artists. Indeed, many ranch-hands were tasked with traveling hundreds of miles across vastly diverse landscapes to transport cattle to the given destination.
The ranch-hand of the American West represented a strong and rugged man in-tune with nature and beasts alike. The concept of a cowboy came to represent a much wider variety of individuals living in the American Southwest from the late 19th century onward even into the present day. Hollywood cemented the concept of a cowboy into the public consciousness. Stoic and gritty cowboys played by Clint Eastwood and John Wayne capture the super-human nature of the American cowboy. Artists portraying them in cowboy art prints often choose to key in on the legendary power of the symbol rather than the historically accurate side of the figure.
Many artists choose to capture the simple humanity of the subjects in their renditions of their cowboy art tradition. These artists often highlight the mundane moments of individuals. For example, a grandfather telling a story to his grandchildren in front of a fire or a mother teaching her daughter to sew. Such moments can help connect the observer to the past. Although the larger narrative of the times was that of settling: taming the wild unknown expanse of the American West and dealing with the cultural clashes of the times, the brave souls were really not so different from us. Domestic scenes can be powerful reminders of the timelessness of humanity. These paintings can also capture an essence of American roots and history, with all its terror and beauty and complexity. To get your very own cowboy art print to complete your home contact Fine Art Publishing today.
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