The Voyage of Life (Pictured: Manhood)

James David Smillie (American, 1833–1909), engraved after Thomas Cole (American, b. England, 1801–1848)
1853–56
Currently on view
MediumEngraving
Dimensions22 × 27 inches
CreditGift of Mrs. A. J. S. Machin, 1946
Accession Number46.176c

Thomas Cole is considered the founder of the Hudson River School, a 19th-century American art movement. He was fervently religious and devoted to painting the American countryside as well as allegorical subjects that depicted fantastical scenery that illustrated stories with moral elements. This print is based on one of four paintings in Cole’s Voyage of Life series.

Despite the conceptual nature of the subject and its imaginary locale, Wallace Bruce, author of the Hudson by Daylight (1872) and A Panorama of the Hudson (1888), saw these scenes as based on Catskills and Hudson River scenery: “Truly the Catskills were a fitting place for the artist Cole to gather inspiration to complete that beautiful series of paintings, The Voyage of Life.”

Exhibition History