Born in an industrialized area of England, Thomas Cole emigrated to the US when he was 17. He was mostly self-taught and worked as an engraver, and an itinerant portrait painter. A founder of the Hudson River School, his first trip to the Catskills was in 1825. Thomas Cole went to Europe to study in 1829 and established a studio at Cedar Grove in Catskill, NY on his return. His friends included literary figure James Fenimore Cooper and artist Asher B. Durand. The Catskill mountains were a source of inspiration for his work. His five-part series of allegorical paintings comprised of, The Course of Empire, The Voyage of Life, and The Cross and the Road were created in the 1830s. By the mid-1840s he was experiencing financial difficulties and took on students at his studio including Frederic Edwin Church.
The Hudson River School was an art movement in 19th c. America. It was influenced by romanticism and embodied by landscape painters, creating the first true artistic fraternity in America. One of the early founders was Thomas Cole. The paintings depicted scenes of the natural majesty of the White, Catskill, and Adirondack Mountains. After Cole’s death in 1848, a new generation of artists emerged that included Cole’s prize pupil, Frederic Edwin Church, as well as, John F. Kensett and Sanford Gifford. They embraced the American art style Luminism, characterized by the effects of light on the landscape and which emphasized calmness and tranquility.
This Thomas Cole history mug is part of our Artist series which includes many of the notable figures who created a variety of beautiful art over their careers.
The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history. The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton. He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone. The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.
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