The Andes of Ecuador, Frederic Edwin Church

Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900) 

The Andes of Ecuador, 1855

Oil on canvas 

Purchase, Robert Allerton and Prisanlee Funds and gifts of Mrs. Wallace Alexander and Renee Halbedl by exchange, 1987 (5622.1) 

From the heights of a snowy mountain peak to the depths of a misty gorge, this panorama of the Southern Hemisphere celebrates the region’s natural beauty and commemorates the artist’s first journey to Ecuador. Trained to sketch directly from nature by the famed landscape artist, Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church traveled to Labrador, the Near East, and Central and South America to record exotic scenery. Upon returning from these voyages, Church recreated in enormous studio pieces the breathtaking vistas he witnessed. This small painting is either a preliminary study for or a replica after a larger work, The Andes of Ecuador (Reynolda House Museum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina), which had been unveiled to popular acclaim in 1855. Church’s journeys and artworks derived from his belief that the study and experience of nature led to an increased understanding of its Creator.