The Cascatelli, Tivoli, Looking Towards Rome

Thomas Cole (American, 1801 - 48)

circa 1832. Oil on canvas, 33 3/4 x 44 1/2". 1991.013.001

Thomas Cole was born in Bolton-le-Moor, Lancashire, England. In 1818 the Cole family immigrated to the United States, and Cole spent his first year in the U.S. working as an engraver in Philadelphia. In 1820 he joined his family in Steubenville, Ohio, where he learned the rudiments of oil painting from an itinerant painter and where he also designed wallpaper for his father’s factory. In 1823 he returned to Philadelphia, where he studied paintings at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and developed his landscape technique. Cole is the leading figure in what art historians came to call the Hudson River school of landscape painters. As members of the first indigenous American school of painting, the Hudson River artists were not formally allied, but they painted works of similar subjects with a shared visual “vocabulary.” Cole is known for both his pristine American landscapes and landscapes such as this one, in which the ruins hint at the decline of great art and civilization in Europe.

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