El Khasné, Petra by Frederic Edwin Church

El Khasné, Petra
Oil on canvas
Olana State Historic Site, New York

Church created several paintings following his travels across the Middle East during late 1860s and early 1870s. Capturing the vista of El Khasné in a dramatic glimpse of the neoclassical columns Petra emerging from the towering dark avenues of stone the revelation of the façade of the building is ingeniously managed. Framed by a jagged outline of rock the eye is directed inwards to the building by a small area of path in the fore ground. The framing and angles suggest the [perspective is that of the viewer approaching on foot.

Frederic Edwin Church
The Hudson River School, Romanticism, Naturalism, The Sublime in Art
Born: 4 May 1826, Connecticut, USA
Nationality: American
Died: 7 April 1900, New York, USA

Church’s painting offer the viewer the pious and the exotic, the artificial and the natural, in equal measure. He was a vital figure in the Hudson River School movement and in the evolvement of Western landscape painting. His work exemplifies all the contradictions that predated it. An ingenious draftsman, his interest in accuracy when rendering flora, fauna, and atmospheric effects met with his value of illusion.

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