Thomas Cole, "Sunrise in the Catskills," 1826, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art
Happy birthday to Thomas Cole, born on this day in 1801. Cole was enraptured by the mountains, crags, and verdant valleys that rim the Hudson River in upstate New York and spent much of his time at his house near the town of Catskill, on the banks of Catskill Creek.http://met.org/1Q7g5uM
Thomas Cole (American, 1801–1848) | View on the Catskill—Early Autumn | 1836–37
Today we continue our examination of Thomas Cole’s “The Voyage of Life.” Begin by looking closely at the third picture in this series, “The Voyage of Life: Manhood.” What do you notice?
Nature's fury, evil demons, and self-doubt threaten the voyager in “Manhood.” As Cole said, “The helm of the boat is gone”; the voyager has lost control of his life. Do you agree? The angel looks down from the clouds as he is whirled toward violent rapids and bare, fractured rocks. Only divine intervention, Cole suggests, can save the voyager from a tragic fate.
Now let your eyes wander over the series’ last painting, “The Voyage of Life: Old Age.” What is the first thing that comes to mind? In this picture, the stream of life has reached the ocean of eternity where the voyager floats aboard his broken, weathered vessel. All signs of nature and “corporeal existence” are cast aside. How do we know? The guardian angel, whom he sees for the first time, directs his gaze toward a beckoning, soft light emerging from the parting clouds—the vision of eternal life.
What has Cole done specifically to indicate the passing of the voyager's #Youth in these two paintings? #ArtAtoZ
Thomas Cole, “The Voyage of Life: Manhood” and “The Voyage of Life: Old Age,” both 1842, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund, 1971.16.3 and 1971.16.4