From the Bible to Bunyan: The Course of Life in Thomas Cole’s Art

A Lecture by Paul Schweizer, Director Emeritus of Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
On a number of occasions during his twenty-three-year career Thomas Cole (1801-48) enhanced the status of his landscape paintings with moralizing subject matter intended to benefit society. “I am not a mere leaf painter,” he once famously declared. This compelling lecture led by Paul Schweizer, Director Emeritus of Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, explores an ambitious pair of paintings illustrating one of the Old Testament’s most well-known stories in which Cole created landscapes that reflect Adam and Eve’s tragic passage from innocence to guilt. Later, in two different sets of paintings inspired by the writings of the seventeenth-century Puritan preacher John Bunyan, Cole used landscape imagery that reinforced Bunyan’s allegorical tale. Schweizer will discuss the common theme in these three sets of pictures, the role that choice plays in the world—an idea that is key to understanding Cole’s ruminations about the destiny of the United States, and his musings about the course of his own spiritual journey through life.

Dr. Paul D. Schweizer is emeritus director of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute’s Museum of Art. In 2014 he wrote the catalog essay for the Institute’s exhibition, America’s Eden: Thomas Cole and The Voyage of Life. He also has written several articles about the series, and another exhibition catalog about all the drawings, oil sketches, and prints relating to these pictures. Schweizer has presented lectures on Cole throughout the United States and is a founding member of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site’s National Advisory Council.

$9.50 Members, $11.00 Non-Members

Sponsored in part by Art Bridges.

Saturday, August 11, 2018
3:00 pm — 4:30 pm (1h 30′)

Location: Fenimore Auditorium

Reserve your spot!

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