Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire (1833-1836)

There is the moral of all human tales;

'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.

First Freedom and then Glory—when that fails,

Wealth, vice, corruption—barbarism at last.

And History, with all her volumes vast,

Hath but one page. 

-- Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

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"With The Course of Empire, Thomas Cole achieved what he described as a "higher style of landscape," one suffused with historical associations, moralistic narrative, and what the artist felt were universal truths about mankind and his abiding relationship with the natural world." -- Explore Thomas Cole

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The Savage State

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The Arcadian or Pastoral State

 

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The Consummation of Empire

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Destruction

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Desolation

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To view the images and discussion of Cole's The Voyage of Life, click the image below:

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