thomas cole

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Thomas Cole

Painting landscapes was very important during the 19th century. Thomas Cole was one of the most important figures in landscape painting in the United States. He went to many places searching for nature, which he painted to show the unmatchable beauty nature creates. His works of art helped people see and take pride in their great land, which was called America. Cole’s works were often made people feel like they needed to go out in nature and discover the inspiring world of mother earth.

Thomas Cole, born on February 1, 1801 in Lancashire, England, found himself at fourteen working as a textile printer and wood engraver in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Cole returned to his parents in 1819 in Ohio; this is were he learned how to oil paint and how to use different kinds of oil painting techniques under the supervision of a portrait painter, Stein. Cole was very impressed and impacted by the landscapes of the “new world” and how magnificent they were compared to where he came from, which was England. Cole found that art came naturally to him and eventually taught himself how to observe nature and still life. He started by illustrating American trees, plants, animals, and even Native Americans. With his sketches of nature he made several different paintings including his famous “The Course of Empire”, “The wood chopper”, and “The Oxbow.”

In early 1826, Thomas Cole was most famous for being the creator of the National Academy of Design. As the founder, Cole was urged by fans to paint American scenery, but Cole desired to create a landscape painting that could express moral and religious meanings. He painted and painted and then in 1836 he married and settled in Catskill, New York to Maria Bartow. In Catskill he made a beautiful landscape painting of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River. He is said to have made a big impact on artists like Frederick Church and Albert Bierstadt. Sadly, Cole died early of a disease on February 11, 1848.

But his life wasn’t fruitless, he helped lead the first school of landscape called the Hudson River School into the making; were many more leading artists came. Thomas Dougherty, Asher Brown Durand, Albert Bierstadt, and others came from the Hudson River School and they all became romantic realists and painted about the American country sides. These realists joined detail panoramic images with moral insights, which ...

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...ce with some trees shot out on the nearside of the painting. The image is painted as if the viewers are taken in a moment of time. The artist can’t be seen at a first glance because he is greatly tiny in the picture, but he is in the image. It seems that Cole tries to get the viewer to see beyond their field of vision to see nature’s colors, lights, and artistry. The storm can be seen as humans who will eventually wipeout the wild and replace it with its own possessions.

Thomas Cole is one of the best realists out there. He made Americans and non-Americans see beauty in nature, opportunities, possibilities, and a future in America. He didn’t only inspire a nation, but he also inspired many artists to reach their goals in the art world. Cole was a brilliant, talented artist, and did a mighty fine job in effecting the art world.

Works Cited

The Hudson River School: American Landscape Artists. New York: Smithmark Publishers, 1996.

Lucie-Smith, Edward. American Realism. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1994. Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History. Rev. ed. Vol.2.

New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1995. 973-974. Yaeger, Bert D.
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