Cole's Circle


Reed, Luman (1785-1836)

Self-made New York merchant with a passion for collecting contemporary American art, Reed was a close friend and mentor to Cole. He commissioned some of Cole's greatest works, including The Course of Empire (1834-36). Cole was devastated by Reed's death midway through the completion of the series in 1836.

Rosa, Salvator (1615-73)

Italian painter, printmaker, and poet of the Baroque era, best known for his landscape paintings and proto-Romantic style. Rosa's innovative and rugged landscape paintings correspond to his rebellious reputation; he often refused to paint on commission or set prices, a practice unheard of in his time. During his travels in Europe, Cole was drawn to the sublime nature of Rosa's jagged rocks and broken tree branches, and he frequently emulated them in his own work. Like Cole, Rosa felt that historical and religious paintings were "higher" forms of art and often preferred them to landscape views.