Frederic Edwin Church
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Imagining the New Nation’s Landscape, 1800–1880
In addition to painting the splendor of North American scenery, Frederic Edwin Church traveled through South America in the 1850s and created dramatic Andean landscapes that were inspired by the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt’s 1849 travel accounts. Humboldt urged artists to paint South America in order to study and represent the earth in its most original state. The soft outlines and suffused golden light of this placid Ecuadorian landscape, however, lend it a nostalgic air. Altered perhaps by the veil of memory or the mellowing that comes with age, Church’s later renderings of the area relinquished the scientific purposefulness of his earlier paintings in favor of more generalized views and quieter moods.
Oil on canvas
56 1/2 x 77 3/4 x 5 3/8 in., 128 lb. (143.5 x 197.5 x 13.7 cm, 58.06kg) (show scale)
Signed lower center: "F.E. Church / -73"
Dick S. Ramsay Fund
Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826-1900). Tropical Scenery, 1873. Oil on canvas, 56 1/2 x 77 3/4 x 5 3/8 in., 128 lb. (143.5 x 197.5 x 13.7 cm, 58.06kg). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 63.150 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 63.150_SL1.jpg)
overall, 63.150_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Did Church travel to Ecuador?
Yes! Church was famous for traveling through the Caribbean and South America in the mid 1800s, seeking idyllic landscapes. This painting was made in a studio, and it's like a "memory piece," based on his reflections on his travels. He made it years after his actual travels.