Thomas Cole Biography and Most Famous Paintings

Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole is one of those explorers who intended to express national pride and the rich history of his country through his paintings. He focused on portraying the dreams and tremors of reality, the knowledge and the anxieties, the harmony of the common and the elite in 19th Century America. Thomas Cole was successful in capturing every bit of America in all her dignity and allowed the veins of his brushstroke to shriek about his growing nation. Cole was born in England but grew up in America and this works as a pointer at the influence that some of his artworks drew from the Romantic Movement in Europe and his idealistic and spiritual stimulus triggered by the ethos of America.

Theory and style

Thomas Cole has brilliantly blended the ideas and tendencies at work behind the Romantic landscapes of Europe with the actuality of America. His paintings, on some level, appear as a foil presenting two realities of two distinct nations; he loved America for whatever it was at that time, he didn’t want to change or transform it in his portrayal, rather made way for the raw spirit of the country in his creations. Unlike a lot of other countries around the world, America witnessed change at a pacing rate; the modernization and urbanization of the lands seemed contrasting to the scenes that were painted by him. However, if we look at these paintings today, they look like a prophetic alert that awaited the destruction of man and the world because of his creation. He chided the rapid growth of industries because to him it appeared as if the man is going against the wishes of God that will soon lead to his doom that followed Man’s First Disobedience.

Thomas Cole Famous Paintings

Lake with Dead Trees

Justifying the denomination of the work, he has painted a still lake contoured by trees that bear no leaves or fruits and two deer by water body. The primary scene seems to be different from the rest of the world because, beyond the borders of the lake, the sky is filled with sunlight amidst the clouds.

Cole Thomas Lake with Dead Trees Catskill 1825

Expulsion from the garden of Eden

The best example of painting that portrays the two worlds of Garden of Eden and Earth; on the right side there exists Heaven cladded with natural bounties that signify it as God’s land and on the left side is Earth that has only been painted in dull colors to produce the visual effect of miseries that it is destined to. In between these two worlds stand an arch from where there seems to be a strong light coming towards earth probably symbolizing Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Paradise.

Expulsion from the garden of Eden

The Oxbow

Another peerless portrayal of the two facets of America; on the left, there is an array of dark grey clouds hovering over dense green forest and just beside it is the clear blue sky above the barren land with the Connecticut River as the common factor.

The Oxbow

The Voyage of Life

The Voyage of Life 1842

The Consummation of Empire

The Consummation of Empire

Reasons to own Thomas Cole’s paintings

As clear from the aforementioned section, Thomas Cole’s paintings are the epitome of landscape depiction and historic revolutions; having one of these around in your house will grant an antique look to every corner of the place. The colors, brushstrokes, and objects in the paintings have been employed in such a play that the moment you cast a look at it, your mind is transferred to the historic times and you start relating to every bit of the artwork. Additionally, such paintings come with a default value that is further escalated when accompanied by the right frame and lighting. Man, however technologically advanced he is, will have to turn back to history to learn from it and when the same chronicles are compressed into a canvas with an elevated touch and interpretation of an artist, the conclusion deserves approbation. Therefore, a painting that strengthens your engrossment and adds merit to your home and office is a must-have!

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