American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Thomas Cole, American, born England, 1801–1848

Scene from Byron’s “Manfred”


Oil on canvas

50 x 38 in. (127 x 96.5 cm) framed: 60 3/4 x 48 5/8 x 2 3/4 in. (154.31 x 123.51 x 6.99 cm)
John Hill Morgan, B.A. 1893, LL.B. 1896, M.A. (Hon.) 1929, Fund

Landscape plays an integral role in this dramatic scene from Lord Byron’s “Manfred,” written around 1816. In the poem, Manfred stands at the edge of a spectacular waterfall, summoning “the Spirit of the place,” in the form of a beautiful Witch of the Alps. Although Thomas Cole omits the figure of Manfred, the ethereal female figure rises from the water’s spray beneath a rainbow, personifying the loveliness of nature. Cole described paintings like this one as “a higher style of landscape,” works that meld idealized views with literary and historic content.

19th century
Not on view

Josephine C. Gager, purchased by Yale University Art Gallery

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.