Earth Day 2020

Here are a few things from the Albany Institute of History & Art's collection to explore on Earth Day!

Online Exhibition: The Making of the Hudson River School

The Mountain Stream John Frederick Kensett (1816–1872) ca. 1845 or ca. 1856 Oil on canvas, 14 H x 9 3/4 W (oval) Albany Institute of History & Art, gift of Beatrice Palmer, 1942.34.13

The Making of the Hudson River School exhibition originated from the frequently asked question “what is the Hudson River School?” We can begin with three basic facts.

First, the Hudson River School refers to American landscape painting created between 1825 and roughly 1875.

Second, the Hudson River School was not an actual school, but a group of artists who mainly lived and painted in the Hudson River valley of New York. They frequently knew one another, went on sketching trips together, and exhibited their paintings side by side at exhibitions and galleries.

Third, the name Hudson River School was not used by the artists themselves. The name came into general use in the 1870s, at a time when their style was losing popularity.

In addition to these three statements, this exhibition reveals that much more went into the making of the Hudson River School, such as the influence of European traditions and cultural movements, as well as America’s natural environment and commercial spirit. The Hudson River School also emerged alongside the new medium of photography, the new science of geology, and new technologies that transformed travel and inaugurated an industrial revolution. The Hudson River School ultimately helped shape an American identity.

Maps from the Collection

Economical Geology of New York, 1830

Did you know that the Albany Institute Library holds geologic maps of New York State? Geologic maps represent the geological structures, minerals, and products of a given area. These maps were often used to determine the economic potential for an area, such as whether a given region was likely to contain gold or other valuable mineral deposits. Today’s researchers use them to understand settlement patterns, help mitigate natural disasters, understand the environment impact of any changes, and much, much more.

For more information on the types of maps available through the museum's Research Library, please read What You Can Find in the Library Part III: Maps on our Research: Library + Archives blog.

ArtStory: Nocturne for the Riverkeeper, Green Light

In this ArtStory, we explore the light and symbolism of Stephen Hannock's painting Nocturne for the Riverkeeper, Green Light (2001). The painting is part of Hannock’s nocturnal River Keeper Series. (The job of the river keeper is to patrol the river for pollution). 

Learn more about Stephen Hannock and his work in the short film "Stephen Hannock: Alternative Landscapes", supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Film available here.


Make Your Own Art

Inspired to get creative? Check out our Museum Makers blog for artistic ideas, including our Landscape Reflection- Marker Prints project found here.