Tuesday, December 2, 2008

View of Cold Spring and Mount Taurus from Fort Putnam

By: Michelle Murdock, Curator of Exhibitions

Although the winters can be brutal in upstate New York, the splendor of nearly perfect summers makes it all worth it. On many summer days when I’m driving home, cresting the hills and plunging through the valleys, I encounter scenes that remind me of this painting. The quality & angle of the light, the length of the shadows, the nature of the clouds and the variety of green are all spectacular.

This popular view from the Revolutionary-era Fort Putnam shows the village of Cold Spring, home of the West Point Foundry, the most extensive and complete iron works in the United States. The depiction of the ruins is a subtle reference to American history and to a romantic interest in antiquity.

Thomas Chambers emigrated from England to the United States in 1832. His work as a landscape and marine artist is characterized by simple outlines, bold colors, and strong forms. Some of Chambers’ subjects were drawn directly from nature while others, such as this painting, were inspired by prints. His work has been described as a departure from traditional landscape painting and is highly distinctive in terms of color and design.

View of Cold Spring and Mount Taurus from Fort Putnam, ca. 1850
Albany, New York City, or Boston, Massachusetts
Thomas Chambers (ca. 1808-after 1866)
Oil on canvas
Museum purchase N0011.1999

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