American painter, born in Bolton, Lancashire, England. Thomas Cole began his artistic career as a wood engraver. In 1819 Thomas Cole immigrated to the United States with his parents and continued working as an engraver. In 1823 he began studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and painting landscapes. Two years later he moved to Catskill, New York, on the Hudson River. Thomas Cole soon gained recognition for his allegorical and romanticized landscapes, which are generally considered to be the first important American landscape paintings. Because of his fame, Thomas Cole attracted a group of American landscape artists that became known as the Hudson River School. Cole is best known for The Oxbow (1836) and In the Catskills (1837), both in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, and a series of five allegorical canvases, The Course of Empire (1836, New-York Historical Society, New York City). Filled with convincingly represented detail, his major art works - those to which he also gave priority - are epic statements about nature and divinity. Thomas Cole chose his motifs and deliberated in the studio on their presentation in order to convey his sense of the sublimity of God as echoed in the world God created.
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