Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Art of the Americas

Who was Thomas Cole?

Thomas Cole (1801–1848) was an American painter who emigrated from England and was celebrated for his early portraits and later landscapes. His work helped to establish an American landscape tradition known as the Hudson River School. One of Cole’s most recognizable paintings is The Oxbow (1836), which depicts a dramatic view of the Connecticut River from the top of Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts, either just before or just after a storm. Although the painting represents an actual location, Cole manipulated the landscape to add drama to the scene. He was known to sketch a landscape, and then not paint the scenes for months so as to free himself from the constraints of realism.


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