Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole

American landscape painter
Date of Birth: 01.02.1801
Country: USA

Biography of Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole, an American landscape artist, was the founder of the Hudson River School, one of the most influential painting schools in the United States during the 19th century. He was born in 1801 in Bolton, England. In 1818, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Steubenville, Ohio, where Cole began studying the basics of his profession under a wandering portrait artist named Stein. Despite not achieving much success in portrait painting, he soon shifted his focus to creating landscapes.

In 1825, Cole moved to New York, where he managed to sell a few of his works to the wealthy merchant George Bruen. Bruen then financed Cole's summer trip to the Hudson Valley, where he painted some of his famous works such as "Kaaterskill Falls" and "View of Fort Putnam." Upon returning to New York, the artist exhibited the landscapes he painted during his journey in a bookstore window, catching the attention of John Trumbull, Asher Durand, and William Dunlap. Trumbull, particularly impressed by the young landscape artist's works, sought out Cole, bought one of his paintings, and introduced him to Robert Gilmore and Daniel Wadsworth, who became his patrons.

In addition to landscapes, Cole also engaged in creating allegorical works. The most famous among them are the series of five paintings titled "The Course of Empire" and the series "The Voyage of Life," which consists of paintings dedicated to the four stages of human life: childhood, youth, maturity, and old age.

In the 1850s, Cole became the founder of the Hudson River School, which included over 50 landscape painters. The school celebrated the wilderness of America and questioned the desirability of technological progress. In the works of the artists associated with the school, nature was portrayed as the epitome of purity and virginity, thereby emphasizing its divine origin.

Thomas Cole was married and had five children. He passed away on February 11, 1848, in Catskill.

Works by Thomas Cole:
- "Kaaterskill Falls" (1826)
- "The Return" (1837)
- "The Voyage of Life: Youth" (1842)
- "Mount Etna from Taormina" (1844)