Artists sought different subjects and experiences in Italy. American Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole was preoccupied with the effect of humans on the landscape and the ruins left behind by past civilizations. A century-and-a-half later, Canadian photographer Geoffrey James also sought to explore how mankind had impacted the Roman landscape, in both ancient times and more recently. Other artists, such as Louis Eilshemius, were drawn to the almost spiritual quality of the Italian countryside. A Room with a View: Scenes of the Italian Countryside explores the influence of the Italian campagna on artists over the course of three centuries.
A Room with a View
Artists from around the world have long been captured by the enduring appeal of the Italian countryside. Its sweeping vistas, at times sprinkled with ancient ruins, make for an enticing subject for artists in a variety of mediums. American artists in particular traveled to Italy throughout the nineteenth century to study not only the great masterpieces of ancient and Renaissance art, but also to sketch and paint the campagna, or countryside, basked in a beautiful glow.
Thomas Cole (American, 1801–1848). An Italian Autumn, ca. 1844–45. Oil on canvas. Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Museum purchase with funds from the James C. and Virginia W. Meade Collections Endowment, the Meade Acquisition Fund, and the Beaux Arts Society Fund for Acquisitions, 2019.001
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