Thomas Cole and Hudson River School

The Hudson River School is one of the most well-known art methods in American art history.

The Return, Thomas Cole, 1837.

Typically, American painters studied in Europe to gather accreditation of their skill, but artists like Thomas Cole began to set up schools or institutes to hone an American style of painting.

The Hudson River School was founded in the mid-19th century and mirrors the balance of human progress with diminishing open frontier that America was facing.

Autumn - on the Hudson River, Jasper Francis Cropsey, 1860.

Paintings in this style are marked by the vastness their scenes depict, evoking Renaissance Italian paintings that purposefully shift the viewer's gaze up to the heavens.

So too do the Hudson River School paintings offer the viewer a wide expanse of land to take in and follow back to the horizon point.

Artists such as Cole focused on rendering a realistic sense of wilderness from life, rather than painting from memory or fantasy.

Nature's beauty, particularly in America, was a common theme during this period.

American "Salon" at the MFA Boston.

Social elite from the major metropolitan areas of the country would flock to the countryside in warmer months, writers began to romanticize the importance of the natural world, and an emphasis on expedition and adventure had taken heart in the minds of Americans.

If you've been to New England and the mountains of New York State, you'd understand how the terrain inspired these painters to showcase the incredible world that was now in full grasp of young United States.

The paintings that depict this area North America idealize a world where people and nature can live in harmony, neither disturbing the other, and I think are a good reminder for treading softly into parts of the world not touched by industry.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is not path and leave a trail. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

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