by César Biojo
Street artist Fabian Gaete Maureira, aka arte100cia, paints an oil paintings on glass with stunning speed (30 seconds), instead of using brushes he uses only his fingers. Picture size doesn’t exceed a standard postcard.
THOMAS COLE | (1801-1848)
Thomas Cole (February 1, 1801 – February 11, 1848) was an American artist. He is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School, an American art movement that flourished in the mid-19th century. Cole’s Hudson River School, as well as his own work, was known for its realistic and detailed portrayal of American landscape and wilderness, which feature themes of romanticism.
The Course of Empire is a five-part series of paintings created by Thomas Cole in the years 1833–36.
Comprises the following works:
The Course of Empire – The Savage State;
The Course of Empire – The Arcadian or Pastoral State;
The Course of Empire – The Consummation of Empire;
The Course of Empire – Destruction;
and The Course of Empire – Desolation.
It is notable in part for reflecting popular American sentiments of the times, when many saw pastoralism as the ideal phase of human civilization, fearing that empire would lead to gluttony and inevitable decay.
The series of paintings depicts the growth and fall of an imaginary city, situated on the lower end of a river valley, near its meeting with a bay of the sea. The valley is distinctly identifiable in each of the paintings, in part because of an unusual landmark: a large boulder is precariously situated atop a crag overlooking the valley. Some critics believe this is meant to contrast the immutability of the earth with the transience of man.
A direct source of literary inspiration for The Course of Empire paintings is Byron's Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812–18). Cole quoted this verse, from Canto IV, in his newspaper advertisements for the series:
There is the moral of all human tales;
'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.
First freedom and then Glory – when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption – barbarism at last.
And History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page…
Thomas Cole, The Voyage of Life: Childhood, Youth, Manhood, Old Age, 1842
From the National Gallery of Art:
Cole’s renowned four–part series traces the journey of an archetypal hero along the “River of Life.” Confidently assuming control of his destiny and oblivious to the dangers that await him, the voyager boldly strives to reach an aerial castle, emblematic of the daydreams of “Youth” and its aspirations for glory and fame. As the traveler approaches his goal, the ever–more–turbulent stream deviates from its course and relentlessly carries him toward the next picture in the series, where nature’s fury, evil demons, and self–doubt will threaten his very existence. Only prayer, Cole suggests, can save the voyager from a dark and tragic fate.
From the innocence of childhood, to the flush of youthful overconfidence, through the trials and tribulations of middle age, to the hero’s triumphant salvation, The Voyage of Life seems intrinsically linked to the Christian doctrine of death and resurrection. Cole’s intrepid voyager also may be read as a personification of America, itself at an adolescent stage of development. The artist may have been issuing a dire warning to those caught up in the feverish quest for Manifest Destiny: that unbridled westward expansion and industrialization would have tragic consequences for both man and nature.
Thomas Cole, The Past and The Present, 1838