21 June 2018, The Tablet

Poetry in landscape and concrete: Thomas Cole and Ed Ruscha at the National Gallery in London


Poetry in landscape and concrete: Thomas Cole and Ed Ruscha at the National Gallery in London

The Course of Empire: Desolation (1836) by Thomas Cole
Photo: Photo: © Collection of The New York Historical Society, New York

 

“The charming landscape which I saw this morning is indubitably made up of some 20 or 30 farms. Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning the woodland beyond. But none of them owns the landscape. There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is the poet.”

The American pioneer of environmentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote these words in his seminal essay, “Nature”, in 1836, the year the British-born father of American landscape painting, Thomas Cole (1801-1848), painted his iconic View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm – The Oxbow.

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