25.7.07

empire course


from the nyt:

in these five canvases (thomas) cole laid out the rise and fall of an unidentified but seemingly greco-roman empire, from “the savage state,” with hunters and gatherers foraging under forbidding skies, to “the arcadian or pastoral state,” in which the natives have acquired a temple and some landscaping skills. fast-forward to “the consummation of empire”: nature has been overrun by classical architecture (cole borrowed compositional ideas from j. m. w. turner’s painting “dido building carthage,” which he had seen in london) and regal processions. in “destruction” the state is swallowed by a tempest of smoke and fire; finally “desolation” reigns at the site, now a pile of rubble, with only decayed traces of humanity.

1 comment:

al said...

... interesting