Knights of the Brush: The Hudson River School and the Moral Landscape

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9781555951801: Knights of the Brush: The Hudson River School and the Moral Landscape
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This remarkable work of cultural criticism analyses masterpieces of the Hudson River School, America's golden age of landscape painting. Iconic works by Church, Cole, Cropsey, Durand, and others are examined in relation to the religious, moral, and aestethic sensibility that underlies them.

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About the Author:

James F. Cooper is Director of the Cultural Studies Center of The Newington-Cropsey Foundation, a nonprofit educational and scholarly resource for American art; and an editor of American Arts Quarterly.

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In these days of sensationalism, the images of the past often seem shadowy and rather vague. This work explores a period in American art and culture when both were infused with a strong sense of righteousness and the certainty that the artist must celebrate nature and the deity. The chapter headings--from "Seeing" to "Virtue," "Chivalry" to "Christendom"--echo the ideas expressed in the paintings, contrasting with what art critic Cooper sees as a cultural crisis in our times. Unfortunately, this work comes across as preachy and sentimental, perhaps because of the zealous morality of the time it examines. Still, the works of art, gathered from a wide variety of holdings, are an excellent record of a splendid age of landscape, and Cooper should be commended for preserving and evaluating these important records of a past era. One could only wish that the sense of moral judgment did not overwhelm the critical eye. Recommended for academic libraries and all libraries focusing on American art history.
-Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., New York
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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