Thomas Cole was one of America’s premier painters in the early to mid-nineteenth century. Though born in England, he moved with his family to the
United States at the age of 17, where he studied art and painting. As his reputation grew, he founded the Hudson River School of painting in New York
and interacted with some of America’s leading cultural intellectuals of this time, such as William Cullen Bryant, John Trumbull, James Fenimore
Cooper, and Frederic Church.
Cole focused largely on scenes of natural landscapes, but consistent with the romantic notions of his era, he incorporated medieval themes in some of
his work. His five-part painting, The Course of Empire, is his best-known work. In this series of paintings, he showed the rise and fall of ancient
empires. In many respects this was a commentary of the Jacksonian era, which the assigned video in this module will illustrate.
You are to develop a PowerPoint presentation of 15 to 20 slides in which you discuss the context and significance of Cole’s Course of Empire
paintings. In your presentation, you should:
- Provide a biographical background of Thomas Cole.
- Discuss the point of view being illustrated in each of the five paintings.
- Discuss how the paintings served as a warning call to the United States in the Age of Jackson.
- Explain whether or not you think he was successful in his message.