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Study for "A Wild Scene"

1831
19th Century
11 in. x 17 in.

Thomas Cole, English, (1801–1848)

Medium and Support: oil on canvas
Credit Line: Florence Griswold Museum, Gift of The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
Accession Number: 2002.1.34
Through the support of his Connecticut patron Daniel Wadsworth, English-born Thomas Cole painted landscapes that captured America’s natural beauty. This canvas, executed in Italy, is an early study for the allegorical "Course of Empire" series of five paintings depicting the rise and fall of a great civilization. Although the stormy landscape appears untamed, the presence of small figures to the right of center suggests that the process of settlement is beginning. Cole lamented that America’s quest for progress came at the cost of its wilderness and inspired other artists of the Hudson River School to celebrate this unique national heritage.

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