Painter Thomas Moran Was Born
Can a painting have an impact on society?
Thomas Moran's paintings of Western landscapes inspired
Americans to save their wilderness areas as national parks.
Moran was born in 1837 on February 12. In the summer of 1871,
Moran and photographer William Henry Jackson joined the U.S.
Geological Survey of the Territories. Their job on this
scientific expedition was to sketch and photograph lands along
the Yellowstone River in northwestern Wyoming and southeastern
Montana. Moran took detailed notes and made numerous sketches of
the beautiful evergreen mountain peaks and waterfalls, but he
also drew pictures of some sights even stranger than the one
depicted in this painting.
Jackson's photographs and
Moran's sketches of the Western landscape, including the
bubbling sulphur fields, colorful hot springs, and shooting
geysers, were brought back to Washington, D.C. The images helped
convince Congress to set aside the Yellowstone area as a
national park. Legislation establishing the park took effect
March 1, 1872. The members of Congress were so impressed with
Moran's art that they purchased two of his panoramic landscapes
to hang in the U.S. Capitol. How do his works make you feel?