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Frederic Edwin Church, American, 1826 - 1900

Made in United States, North and Central America


Oil on canvas

31 × 48 3/16 inches (78.7 × 122.4 cm) Frame: 63 × 46 × 6 inches (160 × 116.8 × 15.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 216, American Art, second floor (McCausland Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Gift of the McNeil Americana Collection, 2004

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Church became famous for his paintings of natural wonders like Niagara Falls, icebergs in the Arctic, and volcanoes in South America. He sketched this volcano, called Pichincha, on a trip to Ecuador in 1857, but made the painting ten years later in the comfort of his studio in New York. In the finished work, Church added palm trees that could not have grown on the high Andean plain. Although the volcano is dormant in the picture, its eruptions were frequent and dangerous. It had also been the site of a fierce battle in 1822 between Ecuadorian patriots (fighting for independence) and royalists (loyal to Spain), after which the country was plunged into uncertainty and sectionalism, much like the post-Civil War United States was facing at the time Church made this painting.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.