The Artist Who Gave America Its First Signature Art Form
Romantic landscape painter Thomas Cole, who emigrated from England at the age of seventeen, inspired a generation of American landscape painters known as the Hudson River School. Settling in the Catskill Mountains of New York, Cole strove to represent the majesty of the American wilderness, symbolic of the country’s pioneering history and ideals of freedom. For The Oxbow (1836), Cole meticulously sketched directly from nature (known as en plein air) before composing the painting in his studio. In addition to his American landscapes, Cole is also famous for his dramatic depictions of Classical ruins in Italy and imagined vistas, such as the L’Allegro (1845) and Il Penseroso (1845) that allude to the poetry of the 17th-century English poet John Milton (1608-1674).
American, 1801-1848, Bolton, United Kingdom, based in Catskill, NY, United States