The Course of an Empire: The Savage State



The Savage State (1833)

Cole’s first work in The Course of An Empire series. Depicts the dawn of civilization, the entirety of the picture being in a state of motion. The mysteries of nature swirl about, as if molded from nothing with the outset of the fog.

Primitive people dance around a camp fire. Men organize in tribal governments where family, brotherhood, and unity is close-knit. Every person serves a function and is mentally and morally engaged in the survival and protection of the tribe.

The nomadic hunter follows the injured deer down the ravine. Canoes foreshadow the coming transportation and exploration.








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