History Painting

Usually large in scale, history paintings depict events from the imaginary or ancient past that have deep human significance and convey moral lessons to contemporary viewers. Once considered the most noble of the genres of painting, history painting requires that the artist render complex, multifigural compositions filled with convincing, heroic human forms. Cole's The Course of Empire: Consummation (1835-36) is the artist's most ambitious attempt to capture the scope of history painting within the landscape genre.