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.
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1. Known as Mongibello in Italian, Mount Etna is nearly 11,000 feet high and is the largest active volcano in Europe.
2. The view of the eastern coast of Sicily across the Bay of Naxos looks from north to south, where the region meets the Mediterranean Sea.
3. The ruins of the Greek amphitheater in Taormina was built in the Hellenistic period (third century B.C.E.). The structure evokes romantic sentiments regarding past civilizations.
4. The town of Taormina appears in the distance.
5. A broken column, reminiscent of the one Cole painted in The Course of Empire: Desolation six years earlier, recalls the romantic theme of the rise and fall of ancient civilizations.
6. This hooded figure, a rural Sicilian of Cole's time, traverses the ancient site.
7. Goats frolic among the ruins, symbolic of the pastoral landscape.
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