At the Hood: American Landscapes

Thomas Doughty, Rowing on a Mountain Lake, ca. 1835, oil on canvas (Hood Museum
Thomas Doughty, Rowing on a Mountain Lake, ca. 1835, oil on canvas (Hood Museum of Art)

Altoon Sultan considers American landscape paintings in the collection of the Hood Museum of Art.

Sultan begins noting that many of the painters "depicted the local New Hampshire landscape, or that of New England. America––that vast 'virgin' land, unpeopled in the eyes of the European settlers, close to God in its awe inspiring grandeur––was a great subject for many artists. Before the 19th century, landscape was so low in the academic hierarchy that many artists painted them only as backdrops to a story or moral tale. With romanticism and the concept of the sublime, landscape came into its own. A small painting like that of Thomas Doughty showed grandeur of mountain peaks, the fear in the blasted tree, the smallness of the human floating within this space and light."