hudson river school of art

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Thomas Cole (1801–1848, United States)

Mythological and idealised landscapes

Thomas Cole was an American artist known for his landscape and history paintings. He is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School, an American art movement that flourished in the mid-19th century. Cole’s work is known for its romantic portrayal of the American wilderness.

Thomas Cole (1801-1848)
“The Fountain of Vaucluse” (1841)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, Texas, United States

Vaucluse, which is in the southern French region of Provence, was the final home of the Italian poet Petrarch, one of the first great Renaissance writers. In 1841, on his second European tour, Cole memorialized Petrarch’s home in this painting, complteted in Rome from sketches done on-site. Once in the studio, he exaggerated the scale of the cliffs in this scene to magnify the drama, and he reconstructed Petrarch’s castle, which in actuality lay in ruins.