Annotations: George Cooke, Thomas Hope and the Lure of Antiquity
February 5 - July 22, 2012
George Cooke (1793-1849), who began his career as a self-taught painter, sought to increase his skill and knowledge by following the custom of many American artists in traveling to Europe. In the absence of a native school of art during the eighteenth century, American artists based their work on European models, and the scarcity of art academies in the United States sent artists to Europe to train their eyes and to learn the artist’s craft. This practice was also followed throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth.
During this period in 1828, Cooke copied passages from the introduction and figures from the engravings of noted antiquarian Thomas Hope’s Costume of the Ancients. This exhibition explores how he might have used the costumes and poses from Hope’s publication as inspiration for his portraits of Native Americans and of Henry Clay. The flow of inspiration from antiquity to the 19th century artwork of Hope and other American artists is investigated by placing them side by side in this installation.
This exhibition was made possible by the generous funding from the Hardaway Endowment Fund.
Frances Van Keuren, Professor Emerita of Ancient Art History, Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia and Kristen Miller Zohn, Director of Collections and Exhibitions, The Columbus Museum
Special thanks to:
Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia: Charles Barber, Toby Graham, and Mary Palmer Linnemann
Hanover Courthouse, Hanover County, Virginia: A. Lisa Barker and John Hodges
University of Pennsylvania Museum: Ann Blair Brownlee, Tara Kowalski and James Moss
Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University: Jasper Gaunt and Todd Lamkin
The Columbus Museum, Georgia: Aimee Brooks and John Jackson
Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center: Helen Matthews and Deborah Thomas
Art History Graduate Students, University of Georgia: Edward Gilbert Head and Alev Turker