Anyone who has idled along its shores, skipped a stone across its rocky breaks or merely took in its majestic views while crossing its expansive breadth, knows that the Hudson River is nothing short of inspirational.
While it’s true that inspiration may be fleeting for most who encounter the river’s beauty and power on their morning commutes or who run or cycle near its shores, the Hudson River has no doubt moved many, famous or otherwise, to pick up a paint brush in an attempt to capture its allure.
Just the same, across the pond in England, the River Thames — the longest in the country — has beckoned artists to paint its magnificence.
In its newest exhibit, From London to New York, The Panoramic River: the Hudson and the Thames, the Hudson River Museum beckons visitors to see the iconic rivers individually in all their stately glory, yet challenges them to see how they are very much linked in art history.
Bartholomew Bland, director of curatorial affairs for the museum and co-curator of the exhibit, said one of the most fascinating aspects of the show and its featured works is “the cross-cultural connection” that exists between artists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries who made the Hudson and the Thames their muses.
In the late 18th century, British artists began using large-scale panorama, offering sweeping views of the Thames and the land that hugged its shores. By the early 19th century, painters like Robert Havell Jr., who came to New York from London, began to capture the Hudson River panoramically and influence, expand and evolve how American artists viewed landscape painting.
Among the 103 pieces — which include not only paintings, but print, scrolling panoramas, screens and even a board game — are works by Thomas Cole, known as the Father of the Hudson River School, Jasper Cropsy, a first-generation student in the school, and John Frederick Kensett, who traveled Europe painting before setting up his studio in New York.
The Panoramic River features major loans from more than two-dozen museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The New-York Historical Society, as well as from galleries and private collections.
The exhibit will be on display through May 19. The Hudson River Museum, located at 511 Warburton Ave., in Yonkers, is open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information or admission prices, call 914-963-4550 or go to www.hrm.org.