Frederic Edwin Church

An Artist for the Nation

The Man and His Legacy

Frederic Edwin Church was the son of a silversmith and watch maker, so his family was rich enough that he could pursue his dream of becoming an artist at an early age. Church became one of the central figures in the Hudson River School of American Landscape painters. He traveled throughout the world, including South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Frederic and his wife Isabella Carnes had many children together. Frederic became famous for several works, such as Niagara and The Heart of the Andes.


Church was known for his landscape paintings. He loved natural sciences, but in every work Church incorporated a spiritual aspect, as well. Each work Church created demonstrates the beauty and magnificence of nature. Church also taught students what he learned and developed. He was an essential representative of the Hudson River School, which taught many artists about the beauty of nature and helped them capture it on canvas. Frederic Edwin Church was a brilliant artist and essential figure in the Hudson River School of American Landscape painters.

Nationalism and American Pride

During Frederic Edwin Church's life, Americans were filled with pride and nationalism. There was a belief that the United States had a manifest destiny to extend the country from sea to shining sea. Church traveled throughout the country and the world and painted many scenes from South America. Americans wanted to add South American land to the nation. Church helped to perpetuate and popularize this belief because of his paintings. His works portrayed the beauty and magnificence of 'unsettled' land. The spiritual qualities he worked so hard to incorporate into his work fed into the theme of manifest destiny and that idea that God opened the West to America. The land was just waiting to be settled. In the paintings, there is also an absence of any people, showing that the land was there for the taking. The American people were proud of the power of the nation, just like the power in Niagara, which portrayed the immense waterfall from the New York side. U.S. citizens sought to extend the nation into South America to fulfill the nation's manifest destiny. Church's paintings added fuel to the fire.

Famous Works

Works Cited

"Cotopaxi." DIA.org. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.

"Frederic Edwin Church." FredericEdwinChurch.org. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.

"Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History." MetMuseum.org. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.

"Niagara." NGA.gov. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.