Test your knowledge with a quiz
- Commissioned by the architect Ithiel Town to paint a landscape of ancient Athens, Thomas Cole created a fantastical array of ancient architecture. This painting reflects ideal and oversized representations of ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Gothic styles architecture — creating a nostalgia for the glories and character of these lost eras.
- In the nineteenth century, many architects modeled their work on these historical forms creating a series of 19th century revival movements. In particular, American architects drew heavily on ancient Greek and Roman architecture in the design of official and civic buildings, associating their designs with ideals of democracy, strength, and stability.
More to think about
Rather than a recognizable landscape, Thomas Cole created an allegorical vision of the architect’s dream. How can the design of a building suggest a sense of its larger purpose or social function? Think of a building in your neighborhood—how does its design create (or clash) with the community?
Smarthistory images for teaching and learning: