Ruined Church in the Tropics

Frederic Edwin Church1859

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

Frederick Edwin Church studied landscape painting under Thomas Cole, a member of the Hudson River School. Church's unique approach to landscape painting aimed to give the viewer a window onto the beauty of the Americas. He combined precise botanical and geological observation with romanticism, drawing insight and direction from the scientist Alexander von Humboldt. Church wrote in a letter to Erasmus Palmer that Humboldt was able to "share the pleasure which a sensitive and contemplative spirit experiences in the presence of the creation… to make him feel more vividly the harmony of the physical forces." (Letter to Erasmus Palmer, July 7, 1869).

The scene was probably taken from Ecuador or Colombia and would appear to refer to Church's trip to South America in 1857, two years before the date of this drawing (he also traveled there in 1853). It was formerly housed in one of William T. Walters' drawings albums.

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  • Title: Ruined Church in the Tropics
  • Creator: Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826-1900)
  • Date Created: 1859
  • External Link: For more information about this and thousands of other works of art in the Walters Art Museum collection, please visit art.thewalters.org
  • Roles: Artist: Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826-1900)
  • Provenance: William T. Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Object Type: drawings
  • Medium: pencil on paper with Chinese white
  • Inscriptions: [Signature and date] Lower right: F.E. Church. / Dec. 59
  • Geography: Place Depicted: South Acton, Place Depicted: South America
  • Exhibitions: The American Artist as Painter and Draftsman. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2001., American Artists Abroad: Works from the Permanent Collection . The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2014., American Drawings from the Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1987.
  • Dimensions: H: 6 1/2 x W: 6 in. (16.5 x 15.3 cm); Mat H: 19 1/4 x W: 14 1/4 in. (48.9 x 36.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Acquired by William T. Walters
  • Classification: Painting & Drawing
  • Accession Number: 37.1534