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Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole

About the artist

Thomas Cole has long been known as the founder of the Hudson River School of landscape painting.

Biography

Thomas Cole has long been known as the founder of the Hudson River School of landscape painting.  Born in England in 1801, Cole immigrated with his parents to Pennsylvania in 1818. Already trained as an engraver, the aspiring painter set out to capture the still largely unexplored American wilderness. When Cole first exhibited his landscapes in New York City in 1825, they enthralled two of America\'s most prominent artists, John Trumbull and William Dunlap, both of whom immediately recognized the freshness and vitality of the young artist\'s vision.  <BR><BR>From essentially topographical records of America\'s mountains, rivers, and forests, Cole moved quickly to incorporate incidents from James Fenimore Cooper\'s newly published novels in his landscapes, thereby elevating those landscapes to the stature of history painting.  Such landscapes have several purposes in Cole\'s large view of history. In them we are reminded of the transience of human endeavor, which is deliberately contrasted to the permanence of God\'s creation in the rocks and mountains that enclose the scene. They also serve as statements of what makes a culture livable, which for the artist was not the bustle of industrialism and commerce, but rather a peaceable coexistence with nature, enlivened by the arts.

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