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Frederic Edwin Church – Virtual Tour

Frederic Edwin Church - Virtual Tour

Frederic Edwin Church – Virtual Tour

Frederic Edwin Church (1826 – 1900) was an American landscape painter who was a central figure in the Hudson River School of American landscape painters.

He is best known for painting vast landscapes, often depicting mountains, waterfalls, and sunsets. Church’s paintings emphasized realistic detail, dramatic light, and panoramic views.

During his time, he was one of the most famous painters in the United States.

Virtual Tour of Frederic Edwin Church

Highlights Tour of Frederic Edwin Church

The Parthenon

“The Parthenon” by Frederic Edwin Church is a large 1871 painting of the Parthenon. The Parthenon was built on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece, between 447 and 432 B.C.

This painting was made after it had suffered its worst damage in 1687 when a Turkish gunpowder magazine located within the Temple exploded after a direct hit by the Venetian besieging army.

It also reflects the scene after the removal of many of its surviving sculptures between 1800 to 1803 by Lord Elgin, who sold them to the British Museum.

The American artist, Church, visited Greece in 1869 and spent several weeks in Athens, where he made numerous studies of the ruins of the Parthenon that later served as the basis for this 1871 work.

The Aegean Sea

“The Aegean Sea” by Frederic Edwin Church is a capriccio, which means an architectural fantasy. In this painting, the artist places together buildings, archaeological ruins, and other structural elements in fictional combinations.

This artwork was inspired by Church’s travels to Europe and the Middle East from 1867 to 1869. The composite image includes elements from sketches that Church made in different locations.

Included in the “The Aegean Sea” are the rock-cut entrance from Petra, the fallen capitals from the Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek, and Roman columns from Syria.

In the distance lie classical ruins that resemble the Acropolis of Athens or the Temple of Apollo in Ancient Corinth, and the dome and minaret of a mosque from Istanbul.


Niagara” by Frederic Edwin Church depicts Horseshoe Falls, the largest and most iconic of Niagara’s three waterfalls. This panoramic view from the Niagara Falls’ Canadian side is dramatic and unique and immerses the viewer into the scene.

The canvas’s unusual proportions with a width of 2.3 meters (7 ft 7 in), makes it more than twice as wide as it is high and delivers a composition that leads the eye laterally.

“Niagara” is highly naturalistic and brings the viewer to the falls’ lip, highlighting the cascading waters by painting in streams of water and cloudy mists.

The only foreground object is a floating tree trunk with tree roots that provide a sense of scale. The white foam near the trunk has a thicket paint dimension on an otherwise smooth canvas.

Frederic Edwin Church

  • Artist:                       Frederic Edwin Church
  • Born:                        1826 – Hartford, Connecticut, United States
  • Died:                        April 7, 1900 (aged 73) – New York City, New York, United States
  • Nationality:              American
  • Movement:              Hudson River School
  • Notable Works:

Frederic Church

A Virtual Tour of Famous Artists You Should Know

Frederic Church

Niagara, Frederic Edwin Church


“Nature has been very lavish here in the gift of her beauty – I am sure you would enjoy the noble scenes which our windows command.”
– Frederic Edwin Church


Photo Credit: 1)Edward Harrison May / Public domain

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