Changing Prospects: The View from Mount Holyoke

Overview

Mt. Holyoke, which overlooks the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, has been a tourist destination and an inspiration for artists and writers for almost two centuries. The view from its summit attracted the Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole among many others, including literary visitors such as Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. In 1836, Cole created the most famous painting associated with the mountain, based on sketches he made during his visit to the site. The Oxbow, ...
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Overview

Mt. Holyoke, which overlooks the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, has been a tourist destination and an inspiration for artists and writers for almost two centuries. The view from its summit attracted the Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole among many others, including literary visitors such as Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. In 1836, Cole created the most famous painting associated with the mountain, based on sketches he made during his visit to the site. The Oxbow, which is a centerpiece of this book and the accompanying exhibition, shows a thunderstorm sweeping across the sky above the mountaintop in contrast to the gardenlike pastoral scene in the valley below. It has been described as the most important American landscape painting of the nineteenth century. Frequent flooding, changing settlement patterns, and industrialization have all had a role in altering the view from the summit. The Oxbow became a closed loop bisected by a highway, and marinas punctuate the Connecticut River. From Cole's time to our own, artists including Edward Corbett, Stephen Hannock, Alfred Leslie, and Elizabeth Meyersohn have observed and recorded these alterations. Color plates of their paintings and photographs, reproduced in the book, allow us to track changes to the landscape and to Cole's influence. Contemporary artists both challenge and pay homage to his vision of the scene, even as their images are used to underline the need to preserve the mountain's natural beauty and cultural significance.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A slim volume of surprising richness."—Landscape Architecture, March 2003

"Here is a book to delight a broad audience, especially historians, educators, students, and artists of all genre types because it honors the natural beauty visible from the top of Mount Holyoke and its surrounding area. It also details the changes, pro and con, that have occurred over the years, yet the mountain continues to reign majestically. Its awesome beauty has always inspired writers, poets, photographers, and, particularly, landscape painters."—Lorrain Lauzon, Catholic Observer, Springfield, Mass., July 16, 2004

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801441196
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/2003
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Pages: 84
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 7
Foreword: "A Route of Evanescence" 9
Mount Holyoke: "The Grandest Cultivated View in the World" 13
Depicting Mount Holyoke: A Dialogue with the Past 31
Preserving Mount Holyoke 63
Exhibition Checklist 77
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