The Oxbow

The Oxbow

The Oxbow, Thomas Cole, oil painting on canvas, landscape paintings, 130.8×193cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The oil painting has another name: View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm.

Cole used a panorama technique that is common in the theater scenery, which is to decompose the picture into several parts in turn. On a canvas about six feet wide, the painter puts his perspective on the top of the mountain, giving the impression that different parts of the picture were not completed at the same time. To the right of the painting is the hideaway described by Cole in the article, a poetic scene of the countryside: neat fields, scattered trees, and a turbulent river that nourishes the soil. In this peaceful land, the river is gracefully curved into a U shape. This is reminiscent of a yoke, a symbol of human control of nature. The scene was after the heavy rain, when the sky was clear, revealing golden sunlight. By contrast, the left side of the map is still a thunderstorm-ravaged mountain. The painting itself embodies the ambivalence of the painter: he appreciates both the human development of nature and the fear of destruction of nature.

At the bottom right of the painting, a red and white umbrella crossed the screen from the mountainside and set up a visual bridge on the river. Below the umbrella is the artist's sketching equipment. Although the neatly-distributed farmland was inhabited, Kerr was the only person visible in this large panorama. The parasol he inserted appeared to be a banner and declared his sovereignty over the wilderness. The author's ideas are hard to guess. He appreciates the natural scenery developed by humans. However, it is also recognized that for Americans, the spiritual " wilderness" in the landscape are threatened by the arrival of civilization.

Leave A Comment