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The Course Of Empire


Every time I walk through the Piazza di San Marco, I'm reminded of a Thomas Cole painting, the third in a series of five known as "The Course Of Empire." The painting in question is called "The Consummation," and it depicts a prosperous port city in all its abundant glory, a city-state at the zenith of its power. The arrangement of the architecture in the Venetian plaza--the ornate Byzantine architecture of the basilica, the adjacent formidable ducal palace overseeing the Grand Canal, the clock tower, and the twin columns featuring the lion of Saint Mark and the statue of Saint Teodoro of Amasea atop them--all suggest Cole's magnum opus.

I suppose Cole's "Course Of Empire" paintings are my mind because I saw them recently in a slide presentation at one of our seminar meetings out at Stanford a few weeks back. I also remember seeing the original paintings in person at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford ten years ago with a Choate American Studies class.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 18, 2008 4:16 PM.

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