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Painters of the Hudson River School of Art

Updated on December 14, 2017
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Ancient art and architecture isn't only for historians, but for people like us who’ve always been interested in anything olden and periodic.

The opening of the Hudson River School (of Art) followed a new awakening, a novel development of a nationalistic spirit, a desire to produce American works of art, and the "romantic" influence of writers like Cooper and Irving.

According to fine art history of early 19th century America, there was a major event which created a new awareness and appreciation of indigenous art.

"Thomas Worthington Whittredge (May 22, 1820 - February 25, 1910) was an American artist of the Hudson River School" . . .
"Thomas Worthington Whittredge (May 22, 1820 - February 25, 1910) was an American artist of the Hudson River School" . . . | Source

together to There was an increasing desire to produce uniquely American work and this brought on a fresh growth of a nationalistic spirit.

A number of new literary authors appeared. They are those who are often considered as the first American authors to develop a uniquely American style of writing. The "romantic" influence of the “first” writers of the early 19th century like W. Irving and J. F. Cooper, the first American authors to earn commendation in Europe; also contributed greatly to this awakening.

The influence of these writers, particularly Cooper who wrote numerous sea-stories as well as the historical romances (Leather Stocking Tales); and the building of the Erie Canal made a group of men who were landscape artists come together to form what we know as the "Hudson River School of Art".

The works of art for which the movement is named illustrates the Hudson River Valley and its environs, including the White Mountains, the Catskill, and Adirondack. The paintings of the landscape artists of the school were mainly pastoral settings where nature and humans coexist in peaceful harmony.

Hudson River School landscapes paintings are characterized by detailed, realistic, and at times the perfect representation of nature, often juxtaposed with peaceful agriculture and wilderness views appreciated for its sublime qualities and rugged features.

It is pertinent to note that the Hudson River School refers to a group of people with a common focus, rather than a regular educational institution.

"Summer Showers" by William Keith (1838-1911)
"Summer Showers" by William Keith (1838-1911) | Source

19th Century Painters of the Hudson River School

American paintings of the time reflected the interests of the day and the literature of the period.

The paintings of Asher B. Durrand and Thomas Doughty which consisted mostly of West Point and neighbouring landscape scenes and panoramic scenes of New England painted by Thomas Cole expressed their love of the American scenery which was evident in their pictures of actual and realistic views.

The painting, the Heart of the Andes which is on display in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is a wonderful example of an early American painting that shows the natural wonders of America. It was painted by Frederick E. Church (1826 to 1900), who was a great illustrator of still life and a painter of the wonderful vast spaces of the West.

The Hudson River School ended with the works of Homer Martin, George Inness and Alexander Wyatt.

According to historical sources, these three artists are perhaps the first painters to paint landscapes where the importance of the subject matter is dominated by the artist’s conception.

In their art, there was the tendency to omit detail in order to more clearly articulate the different moods of nature.

By the mid-19th century, despite the fact that the affluent elites bought the paintings of European artists, after the end of the Civil War, the Americans developed an artistic consciousness that saw many individualists producing pictures that were more indigenous than its subject manner.

A majority of the finest landscape paintings of the Hudson River School of art were painted between 1855 and 1875.

"View of Hudson River and Catskills from Olana, home of Hudson River School artist Frederick Church" . . .
"View of Hudson River and Catskills from Olana, home of Hudson River School artist Frederick Church" . . . | Source

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    • artsofthetimes profile image

      artsofthetimes 5 years ago

      Thank you CWB, and thanks for voting up.


    • Civil War Bob profile image

      Civil War Bob 5 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

      Nice hub...good artwork...voted up and interesting.