An Essay On American Scenery

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On the near side, intact forest still covers the ridge, with dark rain falling in the background.

Cole painted a tiny self-portrait into this painting, in the bottom center foreground, sitting at his easel but facing toward us, and the wilderness.

He returned to America to create some of his most ambitious works and inspire a new generation of American painters.” He and his students, and other American landscape painters he inspired, came to be known as the Hudson River School.

Elizabeth Kornhauser, Curator of American Painting and Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and co-author of the exhibition catalogue, calls Cole “the first proto-environmental artist in America,” an understatement of his pioneering vision.

Our word “sabotage” comes from the French cousins of the Luddites, whose simple wooden clogs, called “sabot” in French, were sometimes thrown into machines to disable them. Turner (1775–1851) were depicting their dystopian images in their works.

When Cole was seven years old, the English poet William Blake called the burgeoning factories “dark Satanic Mills.” Painters such as Philip de Loutherbourg (1740-1812) and J. When his father’s business failed, Cole worked for a time as an engraver of the blocks from which calicoes, colorful cotton fabrics, were printed.

Cole was a visionary, whose art reflected his personal journey, crossing and re-crossing the Atlantic at a time when the damage being caused by the emerging Industrial Revolution was clear in England and just beginning to be felt in the New World of America.

He issued his prophetic warnings of the ecological and social costs of this dramatic shift in the relationship of humans and nature in his paintings and writing.

His new paintings were especially influenced by the work of the French pioneer of landscape painting, Claude Lorraine (circa 1600–1682), and the English painters John Constable (1776-1837), and J. The first panel, , shows the previous scenes harshly transformed into an artificial humanscape dominated by white marble buildings.

The green of nature is gone, and the same rocky promontory from the previous panels skulks on the far right, connecting the scene with the past history of the place.


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