Why The Hudson River School Of Art Is Significant

Why The Hudson River School Of Art Is Significant

The Hudson River School of Art was America's entrance into the field to challenge Europe.
34
views

The Hudson River School of Art offers a look at America's first artistic movement. Its 19th-century pastoral landscape style and appreciation of the environment is important in today's digital age and climate concerns.

English immigrant Thomas Cole has received the honor of founding the movement, which begins upon his 1825 New York City arrival. Literature, often a precursor to subjects of art, had a dedicated interest in nature at this time. Naturally, Cole had aspired to paint landscapes and used previous American artists for reference from time spent in other states. Cole did not abandon his national origin, and it is visible in his style. Celebrating Romanticism's hazy lustful colors and the British tendency to intensify nature are evident.

By this time, Europe was dominating the art world. It was a hub for movements, techniques, and academics. Creatives flocked to its bustling cities, hoping to get work and fame. America had idled by and was more of a gracious consumer and observer. This shows what immigrants bring: a diverse and different approach. Producing art was natural to his home country, where the likes of J.W. Turner hang on walls today and was an idol to Cole.

Most of its 25 to 50 artists belonged to the National Academy, where they attended the same organizations and worked in proxemics. They have been likened to the first art fraternity. The Hudson River would come into play when most choose to relocate there. Like its namesake, these artists did depict the Hudson River in their work. However, the name itself is rather unfitting. This movement is far more than that. Areas and subjects were quite diverse, including the Catskills and Adirondacks mountains.

Running in sync, the Erie Canal had just opened to the public, allowing for travel into new territories. Passing through the grounds had impacted some new to the entire country. Paint tubes did not exist yet, which meant artists worked from recollection in their studios. The resulting creations explore the peace nature offers, life without humans present.

Solitude and serene landscapes track dancing animals playing amongst themselves. It is an ode to our roots, retreating from the increasing industrial age of machines and pollution. There is immense simplicity, staying within the realm of realism. This counteracts with art breaking at the seams, seeking to elevate art as more than documentation.

Works were made by venturing out into lands of grass and flowing trees and keenly observing what awaits them. Nature was the model. The delight from readings of others' journeys into an unknown land and the spiritual connection with Earth's boundless and neutrality fueled these artists. It was very much a soul search to them and the act of seeing played in just as much as the painting itself.

Not all scenes, however, actually existed. Again, this was done to wish away mankind and reimagine lands desecrated by human expansion or litter. Landscapes had been known to artists for ages, yet it remained an under-explored topic. From Ancient Greeks depicting Olympian Gods to the Renaissance painters humanizing religious texts, the narrative was prized. Here, a subject is clear but there is no typical action.

Forest and mountains in everyday life were seen as prime land to build houses on and domesticate. Having a philosophy that untouched nature was majestic, beautiful and not to be feared countered American society. Trees were something to gaze upon and hear sway, not be chopped down for new paper. The Hudson River School of Art would be credited with validating wilderness to Americans.

Women would find time to shine here. Art was a profession only to men, and academic teaching on the likes of shading and tone mostly rejected women. To the schools, admitting women would be wasting a seat since they had no career potential. Furthermore, nude figure drawing classes did not allow females, causing those lucky enough to be educated to miss out on important anatomical knowledge.

This certainly did not dissuade some women, who managed to get under the wings of Cole and educator Fitz Henry Lane. Painting was an act of presence for these women and as close as they could get to being artists. Their works, however, have been left out of major tellings of The Hudson River School of Art until recent decades.

As usual, this movement would end. Its ending would follow the Civil War, a shift from British to French cultural admiration, and figures again dominating subject. Attention to The Hudson River School of Art has fallen in and out of flavor. A resurgence, however, has been found in the 21st century. Passion to preserve what is seen and admiring nature's fragile existence is attributed to growing environmental concerns.

Cover Image Credit: Richard Howe / Flickr

Popular Right Now

Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
231475
views

I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Life Is Short, So Buy The Concert Tickets

It could be the last time you ever see that band.
199
views

"Life is short, buy the concert tickets."

A motto I have lived by for as long as I have been able to go to shows on my own. I have bought concert tickets in a tattoo shop for a show two days away, and I have bought tickets for a show months away. I have bought tickets instead of groceries and other bills. Perhaps that is what makes the shows so worth it.

Over the years, I have gone to countless concerts, crowd-surfed and moshed at the majority. Primarily, I’ve attended punk shows like Social Distortion and Flogging Molly. Spending every last dime on a concert creates a feeling of last chance euphoria. I always enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment that came with that my bank account being drained buying the tickets, gas, merch and snacks for the ride. It’s the story of my life.

In my experience, the shows become even better. The last show I went to was an Irish Punk show. I gave a man 10 bucks to get me a beer. He gave me his credit card, locked arms with me and sang the lyrics at the top of our lungs. One of my best friends and I spent that whole show moshing and crowd surfing, knowing very well we were broke and had to work in the morning.

As the summer season comes around the corner, bands are beginning to announce their summer tour dates. Many of the bands I follow have announced their tours, and sure enough, I dropped 300 dollars in a matter of an hour on shows, only to find out there are many more coming that I want to see. Student loans will always be there. Rent, bills, insurance, will always be there. Buy the concert tickets, spend time at a punk show (or any show). It could be the last time you ever see that band.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

Related Content

Facebook Comments