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Valid attempt but lacking in substance
I was disappointed in this book. While other books about the Hudson River School educate the reader, this one merely waxed on and on about theories which were unsubstantiated. I got the feeling that the author was almost pretending to be a scholar. The premise was an interesting one. Like Panofsky, who wrote about the iconography of Renaissance paintings, this book promises to do the same about Hudson River School paintings. There is no basis to what the author, Judith O'Toole claims, though, and the book is riddled with disjointed writing and glaring inaccuracies. Also, the author misses the point about nature being a way to achieve spirituality, the very axiom of the Hudson River School belief, when she starts anthropomorphizing trees. Spirituality is supposed to be in nature, not human traits. According to O'Toole, the trees behave much like humans, almost to the point of ridiculousness.
The paintings selected for the book are wonderful examples. It's the text that lets the reader down.
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