Art Lesson--Analyzing Artwork of the Hudson River School


Pg. 81 in notes packet

Art Lesson -

Analyzing Artwork of the Hudson River School

The Hudson River School refers to a group of artists led by Thomas Cole, an immigrant from England.

Inspired by the natural beauty of New York’s Hudson River

Valley and the Adirondack and

Catskills Mountains, the artists of the Hudson River School achieved fame by painting romantic landscapes.

Rather than using nature as a mere backdrop for history paintings or portraits, nature took center stage in their canvasses. Their scenes show the power and beauty of America’s wilderness. Human figures were almost dwarfed into insignificance by the majesty and grand proportions of nature.

Battle of Bunker Hill

John Trumbull


Landscape with Figures A

Scene from The Last of the Mohicans

Thomas Cole


Traditional painting where people are the focus vs.

Hudson River School painting where nature is the focus


Fill out the chart as you view the following slides. For each picture, record in the appropriate column the title of the work, the last name of the artist, and the year it was painted. In the 4 th column, record what object stands out to you as the prominent landscape feature. In the 5 th column, tell what the humans are doing in the painting. (Hint: All but one of the paintings have some human activity.)

The Oxbow

Thomas Cole








Frederick Edwin Church


The Oregon Trail

Albert Bierstadt


Cliffs of the Upper Colorado River

Thomas Moran


Movement west into the Louisiana territory and beyond increased during the 1840s.

American headed west in search of land and economic opportunity. Do you think the paintings of the Hudson River School might have had an effect on Americans’ desire to move west? Why or why not? Answer this question at the bottom of pg. 81.

Keep this chart in your notes and then complete the reading assignment about

Samuel F. B. Morse.