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Sept. 02 Art Minute: Jasper Francis Cropsey, Starrucca Viaduct, Pennsylvania

Art Minute, Art of the Week, toledo museum of art
Jasper Francis Cropsey (American, 1823-1900), Starrucca Viaduct, Pennsylvania. Oil on canvas, 1865. Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 1947.58

Jasper Francis Cropsey’s views of fiery autumn scenes captured the forests, mountains, and valleys of the northeast in a celebration of America’s unique, often untouched, natural beauty. As the nation grew, the human presence increasingly intruded on this natural beauty. Images of the railroad often symbolized this growth, seen both as a sign of progress and of the destruction of nature. Cropsey, however, often took an idealistic view of man’s relationship to the land. In this painting, a train and trestle blend easily into the surrounding landscape—the train’s white smoke echoing the clouds above—creating a peaceful scene of man and nature existing in harmony.

This work is currently on view in Gallery 29B.