The Fountain of Vaucluse
Thomas Cole ( American, 1801 - 1848 )
Vaucluse, in the southern French region of Provence, was the final home of the Italian poet Petrarch, one of the first great Renaissance writers. In 1841, on his second European tour,Thomas Cole memorialized Petrarch's home in this grandiose canvas, worked up in Rome from sketches done on-site. Once in the studio, he exaggerated the scale of the cliffs in this scene to magnify the drama, and he reconstructed Petrarch's castle, which in actuality lay in ruins. Although he founded the Hudson River school, the group of loosely affiliated American artists who took inspiration from the natural landscapes outside of the northeastern urban centers, Cole also painted several European scenes such as this one.