Analysis Of Thomas Cole's 'The Course Of Empire'
2), Destruction brings in an element of nature back into the landscape. The previous painting is almost completely devoid of nature because it continues to build upon its architectural component and expand the empire’s reach and trade through ships. This idea of progress and expansion counters the ideals of Romantics, who believed in the beauty of nature and the frontier when untouched by humans and industrialization. Additionally, while the mountaintop from the first painting of the series is nearly unnoticeable in Consummation is in the background and, in this painting, Cole depicts a sort of return to nature in Destruction, as the mountaintop from the first painting in the series is visible again. Furthermore, the storm clouds, wind, and fire are all reflections from nature of the empire’s destruction. The weather, however, grows stronger despite the city below weakening, and the fire from the storm is shown to destroy the ships with which had been used in the empire in order to trade and discover new lands to expand the