Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900), 1859

Among the most celebrated landscape painters of the Hudson River School is Frederic Edwin Church and his work on the Hudson In addition to having Thomas Cole’s love for landscape, Asher Brown Durand’s romantic lyricism, and Albert Bierstadt’s grandiloquence, he was also at least as brave and technically proficient as anyone of these others. The early paintings of Church (such as “Home by the Lake”, 1852) demonstrate he was deeply influenced by his master Thomas Cole. However, Church, inspired by the adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, traveled to South America in search of new landscapes for his paintings. The Heart of the Andes, perhaps his most famous work since returning to New York, was created by Church shortly after his return from South America. The artist didn’t portray a specific place in South America when he made “The Heart of the Andes”, rather an idealized landscape, a kind of compendium of memory from his travels to South America. Toward the bottom of the painting, we can see the cone of Mount Chimborazo, a volcano in Ecuador that Church painted in many of his At the foreground of the scene there is a wooden cross shining through the foliage. The artwork is very detailed despite its enormous size, with Church paying particular attention to the flowers and exotic birds in the painting. A work by Church entitled “The Heart of the Andes” was exhibited at his studio in More than 12,000 people visited the painting, and the admission fee was paid by more than 10 percent of the ticket price. Apparently, when Mark Twain wrote “The Heart of the Andes”, he said “I’ve now got everything in my head, such that even the smallest detail could not be removed without causing me to notice”. The painting was then sold for $10,000 (previously the highest price ever paid for a painting by a living artist in the United States) to Margaret Dows. Dows then donated it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1909.

By Peter