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Strokes of a Brush
Cavemen have shown that art has been around since the beginning of humans. One of the most common forms of art is painting. Although the techniques and styles of painting have changed over the years, their beauty and symbolism is the same. Two American paintings that have left viewers awestruck, are View from Mount Holyoke Northampton, Massachusetts by Thomas Cole and Kindred Spirits by Asher Brown Durand.
The similarities between these two paintings are prevalent. These paintings showing two bewitching scenes of nature, were both created around the same time period, the 19th century and have been famous ever since. Both remarkably realistic, their authors manage to make viewers feel as if they are looking at a photograph, but it is only the techniques of two talented artists. The paintings might not have been as magnificent though if it weren’t for oil painting, a popular form of art at the time. Even though they show so much beauty, they both manage to also have dark undertones which gives the paintings a somber atmosphere. Like most paintings, both also let their viewer decide what the painting symbolizes. For example, in View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, if you look right to left, the painting symbolizes tragedy because it looks as if a storm is moving in. However, if you look left to right, it symbolizes hope because it looks as if the dark cloud is moving away and the sun is coming through. The freedom to let the viewer decide what it means to them is what makes these art pieces so popular.
Although the two paintings have many similarities, there are many differences as well. One huge difference between the two paintings is the location in which each painting is based on. In View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, the artist obviously painted the view from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts. However, in Kindred Spirits, the location is not a place located in America or even, the whole world! Durand combines geographical features from different areas such as Kaaterskill Falls and Kaaterskill Clove into one painting to make a truly remarkable scene. The inspiration for each painting is different as well. Thomas Cole, artist of View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, wanted to disprove critics and show that Americans do appreciate the nature around them. Durand, on the other hand, painted Kindred Spirits as an ode to his best friend and artist, Thomas Cole. There are many more small differences, such as one being portrait-style and the other is landscape, but those are not as major.
In conclusion, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts and Kindred Spirits share their differences, but are surprisingly similar. This may be Durand’s intention due to his painting being an ode to Cole, and if it is, he did a great job. Either way, it doesn’t take away from the sheer beauty of both paintings.