Happy Birthday, Thomas Cole!

/ Art News - Collections

Happy birthday to artist Thomas Cole, who was born on February 1, 1801.

Measuring nearly six feet wide, this carefully delineated, panoramic view of Sicily’s Mount Etna by Thomas Cole is the largest known drawing by the artist. Cole, hailed as “the father of the Hudson River School,” was the originator of this country’s first unique painting style, which looked to the American wilderness for its subject matter.

Despite his commitment to native landscapes, Cole made a Grand Tour to Europe to study the work of the Old Masters and to paint its scenery. He first visited Mount Etna in 1842, and was so captivated by its beauty that he made several drawings and at least six paintings of the volcanic peak. Of the experience, he later wrote, “What a magnificent site! Etna with its eternal snows towering in the heavens — the ranges of nearer mountains — the deep romantic valley … I have never seen anything like it.”

View of Mount Etna about 1842 Thomas Cole American born England 1801 1848 Graphite and wash on paper Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1979 and 1980 Museum Dinners and Balls 1980351