How To Read Paintings: Thomas Cole’s Oxbow

‘View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm — The Oxbow’ (1836) by Thomas Cole. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Source Wikimedia Commons.

Art is a place where ideas are inscribed and experimented with. Human activity can be made to seem beautiful or destructive, depending on how the artwork presents itself.

Thomas Cole’s painting of an oxbow in the Connecticut River Valley has a light and a dark side. The storm that is…

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