The Course of Empire (1833-36)

Thomas Cole, 1801-1848.

Cole, Thomas. The Course of Empire: The Savage State. 1834. Oil on canvas, 39 ½ x 63 ½ in. Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York City.

Cole, Thomas. The Course of Empire: The Arcadian or Pastoral State. 1834. Oil on canvas, 39 ½ x 63 ½ in. Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York City.

Cole, Thomas. The Course of Empire: The Consummation of Empire. 1836. Oil on canvas, 51 x 76 in. Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York City.

Cole, Thomas. The Course of Empire: Destruction. 1836. Oil on canvas, 39 ½ x 63 ½ in. Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York City.

Cole, Thomas. The Course of Empire: Desolation. 1836. Oil on canvas, 39 ½ x 63 ½ in. Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York City.

A must-see is the superlative ExploreThomasCole online exhibit, a collaboration of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, the National Park Service and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The highly informative section on The Course of Empire has many fascinating insights, including a “decode” option highlighting significant aspects of each work, and commentary on the series gleaned from correspondence of the painter himself.

Category: Ars Gratia Artis  Tags:
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