Short study on emerson and cole

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  • Publié le : 30 mars 2011
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Both documents deal with the theme of nature: its beauty, wilderness and relation with the human being.
The extract from Nature written by Emerson insists on itschangeable grace over the seasons, as «each moment of the year has its own beauty », which is reserved to careful people, to the « attentive eye ». The Oxbow, a landscapepainted by Thomas Cole, shows the Connecticut river shape just after a thunderstruck : the river is an image of change (as water is the running element), but also ofcontinuity.
In both works, nature can be seen as a time mark through water, through the seasons for Emerson's text or also through the weather in Cole's work. Emersondescribes the river as « a perpetual gala » which « boasts each month with a new ornament ».
Besides, Cole chose to separate the leaving storm from the rest of thelandscape, which is shaped by fields, in order to insist on its wilderness and its power to destroy what men created. It reflects Cole's will as he intended to feel and depictthe presence and greatness of God through natural elements, which he opposed to men's work. Cole's shows that men, who think that they mastered nature, can be defeatedby God's power in the twinkling of an eye.
Emerson also praises God' s creations by describing the beauty of nature. To his mind, nature is not beautiful but moreprecisely beauty itself as the extract is entitled so.
This beauty is kind of ungraspable by human beings as it « mock us with their unreality » or even beacuse it is « amirage ».
This powerful feeling meddling beauty, fascination, and fear in front of an ungraspable power which is the sublime is convey by the tw artist's works.