Thomas Cole
Landscape painting was an extremely important time during the middle of the
nineteenth century. One of the leading practitioners of landscape painters in

America was Thomas Cole. He went to many places seeking the natural world in
which he used direct observation to show his audience the untainted nature by
man. His works helped to find goodness in American land and to help Americans
take pride in their unique geological features created by god. Thomas Cole
inspired many with his brilliant works by bringing satisfaction among the people
who were trying to find "the truth" (realism) through the works of others.

Thomas Cole was born on February 1, 1801 in Bolton, Lancashire, England. Due to
financial problems experienced by his family, at the age of fourteen Cole found
work as a textile printer and wood engraver in Philadelphia. In 1819, Cole
returned to Ohio where his parents resided. Here Cole learned the oil painting
techniques of a portrait painter named Stein. During this time Cole was
extremely impressed by what he saw in the landscapes of the New World and how
different they were from the small town of England where he had come from. Art
came to Cole naturally, he taught himself, and one day set out to observe nature
and the wilderness. He began painting pictures by first making oil sketches of

American rocks, trees, sunsets, plants, animals, as well as distant Indians.

From these sketches he formed several paintings. He is famous for his
allegorical collection called the "The Course of Empire" and is well-known
for his Landscape paintings, "The Oxbow," "The Woodchopper," and "The

Clove, Catskills." In January of 1826, Cole was known for the being the
founder of the National Academy of Design. During this time many people wanted

Cole to paint pictures of American scenery for them, but his main goal, he says,
was to create a "higher style of landscape that could express moral or
religious meanings." Cole continued to paint and in 1836 he married Maria

Barstow and settled in Catskill, New York. Catskill was the place where he
sketched a portrait of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River. From these
paintings he influenced a lot of other artists such as Frederick Edwin Church
along with Albert Bierstadt. Cole died on February 11, 1848 due to an illness
and was remembered by many whom he helped to see the true vision of America.

Thomas Cole led the first American school of Landscape, called the Hudson River

School. This school included many leading artist such as Asher Brown Durand,

Thomas Doughty, as well as the second generation of artists such as Frederick

Edwin Church, Sanford Gifford, and Albert Bierstadt. These painters shared a
common background. They were Romantic Realists who found great wonders in the
countryside of the New World. They searched the Hudson Valley and areas of New

England to find unique images of America. These realists combined detailed
panoramic images with moralistic insights, which they obtained from famous works
of literature of Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, and Bryant. They saw the landscape
as having a feeling of hopefulness, divinity, and harmony. This school was an
important part of the American culture. Many neighboring countries had crushed

America during the time of war and peace. Since that time, Americans yearned to
see their nation survive. In his paintings, Cole seems to focus on an ideal

America. He does this by painting vistas that mix both idealism and realism. He
impressed several of his colleagues teaching them that a landscape painter must
have strength, determination, and should be willing to conquer the hazards of
the weather and terrain in order to achieve success. In 1825, an artist named

John Trumball discovered Cole’s work in the window of a frame shop. Trumball
purchased many of Cole’s paintings and this was brought to the attention of
many critics who loved Cole’s style. The success of the Hudson River School
led to the formation of the National Academy of Design. In the beginning of the

1800’s, artists such as Thomas Cole painted pictures of the East and closer to
the Hudson Valley. By the 1850’s artists began to travel further into the west
and distant places such as the South American Tropical environments to capture a
more spectacular American wilderness. The result of Cole’s first sketch on
this trip up the Hudson River inspired a new generation of artists to follow his
direction. "The Course of the Empire," painted by Thomas Cole, was one of
his famous allegorical works that dealt with the stages of an empire. This
painting is separated into five stages: The Savage