Tempests and Romantic Visionaries:

Images of Storms in European and American Art

Organized by the Museum and curated by Hardy George, Ph.D., this unique exhibition illustrated the sublime and sometimes destructive power of nature. With over 70 paintings, drawings, and prints from the seventeenth through the twentieth century, Tempests and Romantic Visionaries emphasized the artists’ dramatic portrayals of storms and their allegorical meanings.

The exhibtion was presented thematically in five sections: The Sources of Tempests and Disasters in Western Painting, The Storm in High Romantic Art, Documentation of Ships and Perilous Seas, Mountain Storms in the Catskills and the Far West, and Post-Romantic Storms. Each section examined the way artists have portrayed turbulent and calm weather conditions in marine and landscape settings. The use of calm seas, storms, and tempests as symbol and metaphor and the literal depictions of storms were addressed as well as themes of retribution and divine punishment.

The exhibition focused on the Romantic interest in storms as exemplified in the works of Eugène Delacroix, Philippe de Loutherbourg, J.M.W. Turner, Thomas Cole, and Thomas Moran. While the high point of storm subject matter is associated with Romantic art, the exhibition examined the internalization of the storm motif in post-Romantic works by James Tissot, Charles Burchfield, and others.

The exhibition was accompanied by an audio tour and a catalogue.