In Wilderness Is The Preservation Of This World

If there is a period in art I wish I could emulate through photographs, it would be Romanticism. This movement was a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. Artists of this style often sought to capture a vision of untamed nature, or man as a Byronic loner being confronted by the vastness of the world. Bizarrely enough, some wealthy estate owners of the 19th century paid imitation "hermits" to live on their properties, which were also stylized to look unkempt and embody the vision of this period.

These paintings, all by Thomas Cole, don't show any figures dramatically facing the abyss, but do exemplify the detailed landscapes that were popular at the time. There are no faces large enough to empathize with, but the canvases still seem bursting with life and energy. The very skies seem to embody more emotion than any single soul...
paintings by Thomas Cole

CONVERSATION

72 comments:

  1. Your photos are very reminiscent of this period -- the landscapes that are behind you seem to encapsulate bursting, lonely and beautiful wilderness.

    - JoAnn, Sidewalk Chalk

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  2. These paintings are beautiful, they fit in well with your blog and your photography. I would love to be able to paint emotional landscapes the way Cole does. x

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  3. gorgeous, I just feel in love

    lovelove, M.
    http://marissaexplains.blogspot.com

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  4. I love these so much. I keep expecting to walk outside and see this. It is truly one of the best art periods.

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  5. The surroundings in your photos are very reminiscent of the paintings.

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  6. those images are breath taking!! i want them all!! and hang them by my wall!!! wow!!

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  7. oh, if i could only see those places in real life. they're so beautiful

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  8. ohhh I'm so glad you posted this! Funny but everytime I look at your pictures it reminds me of Cole, it's actually what drew me to your blog! My fav is "The Oxbow"...took me a very long time to realize he was sitting somewhere in the bushes

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  9. Oh, I'm so happy to see you post these! I'm a big a fan of the Hudson River School art movement. I am from Upstate New York, so it might be ingrained in me to be appreciative of Cole's work ;)

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  10. Wow. Those are the places I want to go to.

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  11. I really am not a fan of most Romanticism landscapes...too phony for my tastes. I feel like you don't need to capture every detail to convey great emotion. This again I am a huuuuuge Turner fan so that might also explain my point of view.
    http://thames.me.uk/s00710_files/rss%20turner.jpghttp://classes.berklee.edu/llanday/spring02/tech/slaveship1.jpg

    I don't know if photography could ever capture the brilliant painting of these works.

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  12. I love Romanticism too, and these paintings are all so lovely! How I wish I could walk through all these landscapes!

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  13. Landscape art has never been my favorite as I have always been drawn more to landscapes via photography. To me it is the realism of photography, the capturing of what is not what could be in a utopia. I do have to agree that Cole is amazing though. To be able to capture such realism in a painting is fantastical. That is truly art. I paint but I could never paint to the detail that Cole and many like him do. To be able to see a landscape in layers of paint is amazing.

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  14. I saw a bunch of Thomas Cole paintings in person when I was in Paris last quarter, and I ABSOLUTELY adore him! His paintings just put me in a really nice mood.

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  15. Those paintings are absolutely jaw droppingly stunning.

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  16. Actually some of these paintings do have tiny figures in them. Hard to pick out right away, but they definitely make the scene seem even wilder. :)

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  17. @Meg, yeah I did/do see the figures. What I meant was that these aren't figures "on the brink;" these appear insync with the nature and their faces are too small to feel their emotion.

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  18. So rich in color! a great feel of classic vintage paintings!! Gorgeous!!

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  19. wow, these paintings are stunning ♥
    i absolutely love romanticism
    xx

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  20. I love Thomas Cole, I was lucky enough last year to see a gallery of artwork from the Hudson River School painters, since I live right along the Hudson River. The paintings were even more gorgeous in person, the detail is just incredible.

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  21. these are all gorgeous--and some of them i've even worked with when teaching romantic literature.
    i love the sublimity of the third down. those romantics are bad asses!

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  22. I LOVE romantic painters! I especially love William Turner. I've studied him and Thomas Cole quote a lot.

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  23. Your style is definitely Romantic, especially with the woodland photos you take and your red hair, which by the way has grown SO long!!! Do you blowdry it or is it naturally straight?

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  24. You very much capture this essence with your photographs. I love Thomas Cole.

    xx

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  25. Romanticism rocks! :) These paintings remind me of Transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Thoreau. And your photographs definitely resemble Romanticism. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  26. These are quite beautiful, I've never been a fan of realism, but these scenes are so lovely. The top ones all sort of have a dark feeling about them created by the storm clouds.

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  27. Very beautiful paintings! This post was very informative, I like it very much! ^.^

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  28. these are incredible paintings!

    ps. i left you an award on my blog...:D

    gizellefaye.blogspot.com

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  29. These would look lovely as outfit pictures. Could you just imagine posing near a background like that. Thanks for sharing, these are lovely. Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

    inbugsdrawers.blogspot.com

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  30. hudson valley river school painters. mostly the catskills. its nice to be a new yorker.

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  31. I'm more partial to German Romanticism, Caspar David Friedrich is a favorite of mine. Hudson valley painters are a bit too "american" for me... I blame it on the first ever Art History class I took.

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  32. so beautiful!!! it's like stepping inside a LOTR movie...

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  33. And my dear, you succeed in spades: in your effortless chiaroscuro, richness of hues and the sublime just around every corner!
    I just can't get over that mossy tree branch!
    xoxo,
    Gina

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  34. amazing colors!!

    thesoundoflace.blogspot.com
    thesoundoflace.blogspot.com
    thesoundoflace.blogspot.com
    thesoundoflace.blogspot.com
    thesoundoflace.blogspot.com

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  35. Beautiful post

    x

    http://SheWoreItWell.blogspot.com

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  36. I love the colors. So sublime. I wouldn't mind these hanging on my walls.

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  37. very beautiful painting, love the so much!

    xxx

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  38. Many of your photos are indeed evocative of these paintings -- not just the scenery, but also the mood. Thanks for sharing all these great Cole landscapes!
    the renegade bean

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  39. Love the photos,they remind me so much about the museums I've visted in Paris.Have you ever visited Paris?

    You brought some melancholy in me with this photos !

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  40. Lovely paintings - great blog, very inspirational.

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  41. you would fit perfectly into these paintings

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  42. I miss being in Europe where they have entire galleries dedicated to a period. Not that I know anything about art, but it was a feast for the mind and eyes.

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  43. Those are beautiful paintings. The second one is my favorite, I think. The colors and atmosphere are amazing.

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  44. i too love romanticism..
    these paintings here are just beautiful and make me want to get more in touch with nature.
    thank you for sharing them!
    xo

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  45. Beautiful pictures. I'm actually quite shocked how easy it is to achieve similar effects with photoshop now. It's so tempting...

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  46. Those paintings are so beautiful! I got to do a presentation on the Hudson River School in a history class once, and it was incredibly interesting. Those paintings really capture the beauty and spirit of America

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  47. What a wonderful blog post! I love the Hudson River School painters & I think your photos often capture exactly that type of beautiful wildness, although your settings are on the opposite coast.

    If you're ever in the Catskills area, here's a wonderful artists walking tour you can take:
    http://www.thomascole.org/trail/index.html

    Because of the efforts of preservationists, many of the sites those artists painted are still wild & beautiful. (Much gratitude for that.)

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  48. So moody. This takes me back to Grade 11 art class, I remember analysing these paintings...

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  49. I'm not the biggest fan of landscape paintings as it was my least favourite class when I studied Art History, but can definitely appreciate the amazing attention to detail and just the sheer talent that it takes to paint these. The third painting is my favourite.

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  50. wow those are beautiful paintings!

    come enter my valentine's day giveaway :)
    www.heatherinacandyshop.com

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  51. When I studied art history, I really loved studying romanticism! I so understand you when you say you'd choose this time period if you could emulate one :)

    freshbrownies.blogspot.com

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  52. Wow, these paintings evoke a sense of both sadness and serenity to me. I am sure it is different for everyone, but something about the vast space, the lack of people, the beautiful colors, and the breathtaking skies really make me yearn for my childhood! Is that strange?

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  53. these painting are amazing, very detail.

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  54. They're so dramatic and impressive. I love the colors. They remind me of paintings that I looked at for my Master's Thesis about English perceptions of the Italian landscape, especially volcanoes.

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  55. I absolutley love the tree climbing pics below!! I must try this some day im feeling adventurous! LOVE your ring too!! :)
    magpie-girl.blogspot.com xo

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  56. I can see this influence through your pictures. They are also full of movement and always have such a beautiful landscape. Keep up the great work.

    http://www.livefashiondiehappy.blogspot.com/

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  57. I love the Romantic period: from Literatute to Art, to everything! I love a geman painter called Kasper David Fridriech.
    Thank you for posting these!
    bisous
    j

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  58. Oh so glad you posted on Thomas Cole! I have been to his home/studio several times and the area surrounding it is just as beautiful as the paintings.

    Another artist from the area (very near Cole's home) that you may be interested in is Frederic Churchill-not only are his paintings beautiful, but his home "Olana," a mix of European/Middle Eastern/Indian architecture and design is every bit as interesting as his work. I have been visiting since I was a little girl- and every time I go I fall more and more in love with the estate... Sorry for the long post... I get a little overenthusiastic about this topic- but if you ever get the chance, I encourage you to visit!

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  59. I love Romanticism! I just taught that to my art class last year! Let's continue bringing Romanticism back : ) I love how your photos have a romantic feel as well!

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  60. as someone else said, a lot of his paintings do have tiny figures -- often actually of the artist himself with a canvas... frederic church also.

    i looove the hudson river school -- it's so funny because i really am not a fan of the aesthetic and the ~uber dramatic landscape~, but i went to college and lived right smack in the middle of that area for years and took so many classes on all this art + visited the places the painted etc etc. AAAAH I MISS IT

    there's a lot more than just romanticism behind it too -- plenty of awesome shit on creating an american history etc, etc. cole wrote a lot of essays on his paintings too, you should check them out!

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  61. My prof showed these to us my first term...you should also check out Hudson River School. There paintings are like this.

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  62. I would love to see some clothing designs inspired by these paintings... imagine the color schemes, prints, shapes, one could come up with.
    xo

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  63. some of the most beautiful landscape paintings that i've seen are from the Norwegian Romantic period, Adolph Tidemand, Hans Gude, Johan Christian Dahl, breathtaking scenes.

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  64. "so, seek the wolf in thyself..."

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