Sunday, November 4, 2012

A 19th Century View Of America.

'Kindred Spirits' by Asher B. Durand (1849)
'Kindred Spirits' was an oil painting by Asher B. Durand, which focuses on the nature of New York state and the friendship between the two people on the rock ledge. The people in the painting are Thomas Cole, who was an American Painter who founded the Hudson River School of Art, and William Cullen Bryant, a poet.

The picture is based in New York and is a very different image of what the state looks like today.  Durand includes many different forms of nature, including the tree's, the rock ledges which seem to be untouched and there is a waterfall in the background.  The painting was drew from memory, to outline what they first saw when they arrived in America. Faintly, you can see birds which could establish the freedom that the New World seemed to embellish to the new settlers.  The birds could also suggest the other forms of wildlife and could advocate that America is a rich and resourceful country if wildlife and birds are already surviving in this huge landscape.  Furthermore, deep in the background you can see many huge mountains that arise in the distance which could further propose the vast landscape.  Durand focuses a lot on the tree's; further past the waterfall seems to be a forrest which lead to the mountains and there is also tree's surrounding the friends on the ledge. The tree's could also imply the immeasurable range of resources that the country holds because they could represent a prosperous landscape.  The men on the ledge appear to be discussing but also taking in the new, untouched countryside.

This painting was meant to represent the nature of America and the friendship of the men in the picture in relation to this sonnet, named 'Sonnet to Solitude';

'Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Those words are images of thoughts refin’d,
Is my soul’s a pleasure; and sure it must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee'.

I think this further shows that the painter was attempting to convey the freedom America witheld to the new settlers that arrived, which I think he portrayed with the use of the untouched nature like the tree's, the waterfall and the depiction of the mountains in the background and also the birds which are liberally flying in the state which is now New York City.

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