Thomas Cole. Oil on canvas, 1843, 48 x 32 ½ in. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. Purchased from the artist by Alfred Smith, Daniel Wadsworth, and the original subscribers to the Wadsworth Atheneum, 1844.6.
Peter DeWint, View of Aetna from the Theatre at Taormina, Engraving by Robert Wallis after Peter DeWint, 1822. Published in Peter DeWint, Sicilian Scenery from Drawings by Peter DeWint: The Original Sketches by Major Light (London, 1823). View in Scrapbook
Educated travelers like Cole planned their European itineraries by consulting books such as Sicilian Scenery from Drawings by Peter DeWint (1823). Such lavishly illustrated publications whetted the appetite of American artists who wanted first-hand experience of the famous stops on the Grand Tour. Cole probably closely studied this published view of the renowned Hellenistic ruins at Taormina, since his painting, Mount Etna from Taormina, is very similar to the vantage point of DeWint’s image. 1