Sept. 09 Art Minute: Thomas Cole, The Architect's Dream
Architectural monuments from the distant past dominate The Architect’s Dream, presenting a continuum of the styles from which 19th-century architects took inspiration. In the misty distance, an Egyptian pyramid towers over an Egyptian temple. Two Greek temples are joined by a wall of pilasters (rectangular columns, attached rather than free-standing). Above this wall, a Roman aqueduct and a round Roman temple rest on the foundation of Greek architecture. In the foreground, a Gothic church rises out of the forest.
The dreaming architect in question reclines on huge books of building designs atop a monumental column inscribed with the artist’s name and the name of the patron, architect Ithiel Town (1784-1844). Town, along with his colleague Alexander Jackson Davis, popularized the Greek and Gothic Revival architectural styles in America.
This work is currently on view in Gallery 29B.