This Tranquil Land: Hudson River Paintings from the Hersen Collection

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9780962460210: This Tranquil Land: Hudson River Paintings from the Hersen Collection
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Nineteenth-century Americans responded to landscape paintings because the subject existed all around them. Unlike paintings of ancient kings or mythic goddesses that in Europe were regarded as the highest achievement but in America were considered frivolous or morally corrupt, the land was a tangible presence, sometimes tranquil and serene, often mysterious and dangerous. Before 1820, depictions of the landscape had essentially served as backgrounds for portraits or as topographic documents. Thomas Cole transformed this "useful" landscape into a transcendental vision, where the hand of God was seen enlivening every aspect of nature. Cole's example opened the eyes of countless talented artists who sought the American soul in the vistas of its landscapes. This quest is vividly brought to life in the paintings included here, by 31 artists who painted in and around the Hudson River in the 19th century. They not only show an America that was, but an America that still exists in the core of our national consciousness.

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Kloss, William
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William Kloss
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