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The Course of Empire: Destruction by Thomas Cole

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Let's take a closer look at The Course of Empire: Destruction by Thomas Cole. I'll cover:

Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction, 1836
Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction, 1836

Date created: 1836

Dimensions: 39 1⁄2 × 63 1⁄2 inches

Medium: Oil on canvas

Below are the main colors used in the painting. Copy the hex code for use in Photoshop or other editing software.

#59543B
#402A10
#8C7C5E
#BFA27E

(You can check the color palette of paintings using this tool by Adobe.)

Here's the painting in grayscale so you can clearly see the different values (lights and shadows):

Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction, 1836 (Greyscale)

(Use this free image tool to apply a grid and grayscale to photos of your paintings.)

Below is a notan of the painting created using Photoshop. This is the most basic design of lights and darks. It often reveals subtle value patterns that are easy to miss in the full-color image.

Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction, 1836 (Notan)

Below is the painting with a grid over the top so we can analyze it in terms of the rule of thirds. The grid lines and intersections are considered aesthetically pleasing areas.

Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction, 1836 (Law of Thirds)

Here are some similar paintings by Cole:

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