The Course Of Empire (Thomas Cole)

23 Nov

Thomas Cole was an American painter who lived the first half of the 1800s. He is known for pastoral paintings of natural landscapes and was the founder of the art movement the Hudson River School. He and the movement were dedicated to landscape paintings, with a very Arcadian point of view/

Arcadia, which we will be exploring alongside Elysium in later posts, refers to an ideallic state of nature, usually before the rise of man and technology. It is Eden. It is lost and unnattainable.

Between 1833 and 1836 Thomas Cole painted a magnificent series of paintings called the Coarse Of Empire. We present them here for you today.

“There is the moral of all human tales;

‘Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.
First freedom and then Glory – when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption – barbarism at last.
And History, with all her volumes vast,

Hath but one page..”  – Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

The Course of Empire 1: The Savage State

The Course of Empire 2: The Arcadian or Pastoral State

The Course of the Empire 3: The Consummation

The Course of Empire 4: Destruction

The Course of Empire 5: Desolation


Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “The Course Of Empire (Thomas Cole)

  1. matthew

    November 24, 2011 at 12:12 am

    This is my favorite of his sets:

    Been feeling the Manhood frame for quite a while now…

  2. paulms

    November 24, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Love that series too. Was thinking about doing it tomorrow.


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