Desolation Thomas Cole The Course of Empire Art Print
$20.00 - $36.00
The Course of Empire is a series of five paintings created by Thomas Cole in 1833 through 1836. It is notable in part for reflecting popular American sentiments of the times, when many saw pastoralism as the ideal phase of human civilization, fearing that empire would lead to gluttony and inevitable decay. The theme of cycles is one that Cole returned to frequently, such as in his The Voyage of Life series. The Course of Empire comprises the following works: The Course of Empire – The Savage State; The Arcadian or Pastoral State; The Consummation of Empire; Destruction; and Desolation. The original works were quite large, with all the canvases 39.5 inches by 63.5 inches (100 cm by 161 cm) except The Consummation of Empire which is even larger at 51″ by 76″ (130 cm by 193 cm). We've reproduced them as beautiful giclée prints in a much more manageable 18" x 11" and 36" x 24".
The fifth painting, Desolation, shows the results decades later. The remains of the city are highlighted in the livid light of a dying day. The landscape has begun to return to the wilderness and no humans are to be seen; but the remnants of their architecture emerge from beneath a mantle of trees, ivy, and other overgrowths. The broken stumps of the pharoi loom in the background. The arches of the shattered bridge and the columns of the temple are still visible; a single column looms in the foreground, now a nesting place for birds. The sunrise of the first painting is mirrored here by a moonrise, a pale light reflecting in the ruin-choked river while the standing pillar reflects the last rays of sunset. This gloomy picture suggests how all empires could be after their fall. It is a harsh possible future in which humanity has been destroyed by its own hand.
The fifth picture is the scene of Desolation. The sun has just set, the moon ascends the twilight sky over the ocean, near the place where the sun rose in the first picture. Day-light fades away, and the shades of evening steal over the shattered and ivy-grown ruins of that once proud city. A lonely column stands near the fore ground, on whose capitol, which is illumined by the last rays of the departed sun, a heron has built her nest. The doric temple and the triumphal bridge, may still be recognised among the ruins. But, though man and his works have perished, the steep promontory, with its insulated rock, still rears against the sky unmoved, unchanged. Violence and time have crumbled the works of man, and art is again resolving into elemental nature. The gorgeous pageant has passed — the roar of battle has ceased — the multitude has sunk in the dust — the empire is extinct.
Museum-quality posters are made on thick and durable matte paper. Add a wonderful accent to your room and office with these posters that are sure to brighten any environment. (Frame not included.)
• Paper thickness: 10.3 mil • Paper weight: 5.57 oz/y² (189 g/m²) • Giclée printing quality • Opacity: 94% • ISO brightness: 104%