View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm by Thomas Cole

Title: View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm
Date: 1836
Movement: Romanticism
Media: Oil on canvas
Current Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. USA

Better known as ‘The Oxbow’ the painting depicts two very different aspects of American landscape. Dense clouds hang over a forest on the left of the canvas and the meandering Connecticut river gently wanders through cultivated fields under the blue sky on the right. Cole personalizes the piece by portraying himself at the centre of the canvas looking back at the viewer from between two crags. This element of personalization reflects Cole’s emotional connection to the work, which exemplifies mid-19th century American landscape painting.

Artist: Thomas Cole
Born: 1 February 1801, Bolten-le-Moors, UK
Nationality: British-American
Died: 11 February 1848, New York, USA

Cole’s paintings stand as monuments to the dreams and anxieties of the emerging America during the mid-19th century. Born in England Cole emigrated to the USA as a young man and sought to capture the beauty of the American wilderness. He is the first artist to bring the perspective of a European Romantic landscape painter to those environments and reflect his own idealism and religious sensitivities.

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