American, born England 1801–1848
Thomas Cole (American, born England 1801–1848)
Oil on panel
18 3/4 x 26 inches
Purchase with bequest of Clarissa Hale Poteat
The storm that rages in this early painting by Thomas Cole is a natural counterpoint to the overwrought emotions of the swooning, perhaps dying, woman in white. Here, Cole likely illustrates a frontier drama he authored in 1825. His emphasis on the “sublime and beautiful”—dimensions of nature thought to parallel human emotions—was a popular convention. Cole claims this scene as uniquely American: a modest homestead, likely of pioneers, stands humble and isolated in a wild landscape.
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