Thomas Cole’s 19th Century American Landscapes


While doing some research on Thomas Cole just now, (one of my favorite American artists) I came across this great website, Explore Thomas Cole. Definitely check it out, its a great way to view and interact with his works and associated history. Cole’s work factors into my research as visual evidence for a change in American perceptions of the natural landscape. The gradual transmission of Romantic ideas into 19th century American society provided ordinary people with the ideological tool-kit necessary to interpret the natural landscape as a work of art, and therefore their perception of said landscape began to evolve. A new found interest in the natural world resulted in a change in perception of the natural landscape. Thomas Cole’s naturalistic paintings are filled with awe-inspiring landscapes, often dramatic and seemingly dangerous, filled with iconography indicative of the terrible might of the natural world and the respect it demands from human society.

Here are some other useful websites for finding more information on Thomas Cole and his works:

Thomas Cole wiki page
Cedar Grove (Thomas Cole estate) website
Thomas Cole’s work at the MET



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