Unlike many of you, I still read newspapers. I opened the New York Times Week in Review today to follow a story, and immediately recognized a painting, Thomas Cole’s, Destruction from his five-painting series, The Course of Empire. I spent some happy hours in front of this painting when I was studying Art 101 in college, and I was astounded by the contrast between the original, which is feet wide and feet high, and the color miniature in the paper, about 4.5” by 2.75”. There are many weaknesses of technique that separate Cole from the big boys, all very evident in this monumental canvas. But all those weaknesses disappear, emphasizing the powerful sweep of his conception, when the painting gets miniaturized.
John Dvorak’s blog is fond of displaying small pictures, inviting you to click on them to “embiggen”. If you find a way to embiggen this picture, please refrain from doing so. Thomas Cole never seemed so fine. Here’s how it looks in the Times, online.