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The Hudson River School
Nature's God

The Hudson River School was the first coherent movement or "school" of American art, beginning with the works of Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and Asher B. Durand (1796-1886), it included Jasper F. Cropsey, Frederick Edwin Church, Geroge Innes, Albert Bierstadt, Martin Johnson Heade, and others.  This group of painters, several of whom lived and worked in the Hudson River region, reflected a dawning awareness not only of the beauty of the American landscape, but also its capacity for the renewal and inspiration of the spirit. Many of these artists went about their work with an awareness that they were capturing not just the colors and shapes of the natural world, but the living presence of what the founders of the republic referred to as "Nature's God."  While they were influenced by European landscape painters, they were alert to Ralph Waldo Emerson's challenge "to ignore the courtly Muses of Europe" and create a uniquely American art. The mid 19th century was a time of expansion for the young nation, and the Hudson River painters depicted a New World which was, in all its vastness and beauty, an unmistakable sign of God's handiwork. 

I've included representative works of the major Hudson River artists in the pages that follow. Click on any of the images in the table that follows to see a much larger version of that painting, including its title and the name of the artist.  Or click here to start the slideshow at the beginning.

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502089.GIF (170434 bytes)502090.GIF (183157 bytes)502097.GIF (195719 bytes)

Images on this page and within this article are The Corel Corporation. Used by contract with the Corel Corporation.

Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and author of Faith, Science and the Future, published in 1994 by CrossCurrents Press. He is also the author of God and Science (John Knox / Westminster, 1986) which he is now rewriting to incorporate more recent developments in the conversation taking place between scientists and theologians. He has also written widely for such publications as The New York Times, The Nation, Commonweal, The Christian Century and others.

For further information about Charles Henderson.