Friday, February 6, 2009

Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole, one of the Hudson River Valley painters, did a series of 5 paintings named "Course of the Empire". The one displayed here is called Destruction. The HRV painters in my experience tended to be landscape painters primarily, however, Cole stands out to me due to the narratives evident in his work as opposed to some of his peers. I have been much more interested in the use of narrative in paintings over the last year and have begun to understand the use of narrative as a tool to develop an image for the sake of storytelling rather than for simply conveying imagery. The complex story depicted here shows a civilization destroying itself. Soldiers burning ships, murdering civilians, destroying building and killing each other give insight into this age in history as well as the artist viewpoint on the history. There is a role to be played by each figure, statue, archway, building, cloud of smoke and mountain in this piece. No subject is randomly or haphazardly placed in this, but rather used to help convey the narrative and thereby express the emotion of the destruction man brings upon himself. I have begun to apply this narrative thought process to my work, thinking about purpose to any composition elements I add, not just for aesthetics, but to advance a story.

No comments:

Post a Comment