The Brooklyn Bridge was hailed as a marvel of American engineering ingenuity. When it was built in 1883, its two towers were the tallest structures in the Western Hemisphere. Photographer Walker Evans turned its bold form and sweeping lines into a classic American image, both an icon of modernity and a monument that belongs to history.
To Joseph Stella, this structure was the “shrine containing all the efforts of the new civilization of America.” His Futurist rendition of the Brooklyn Bridge was inspired by a night alone on its promenade, surrounded by New York’s noises and pulsating colors, feeling both hemmed in and spiritually uplifted by the city.
Picturing America is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, carried out in partnership with the American Library Association, which provides an innovative way to experience America’s history through our nation’s art. Visit the Picturing America website to learn more. For more videos like this, visit Picturing America on Screen.