Bursting through the clouds, an angel announces the birth of Jesus to awe-struck shepherds. Designed for public exhibition, this gigantic painting demonstrates Thomas Cole’s talent in depicting realistic landscape details and imaginative supernatural events. His presentation of the Mediterranean terrain draws on his travels in Italy, allowing us a vivid journey through this vast space before reaching the glowing cave where the Holy Family awaits. This is Cole’s largest painting, created to win attention and earn commissions for prestigious historical scenes and local views of New York’s Catskill Mountains and Hudson River Valley.



  • Title: The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds
  • Creator: Thomas Cole
  • Date: 1833-1834
  • Location Created: New York, United States
  • Provenance: The artist until 1837; Boston Atheneum, 1837-1977; Hirschl & Adler Galleries, 1977; Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.; Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., in memory of Colonel Edgar William and Mrs. Bernice Chrysler Garbisch to the Chrysler Museum, 1980.
  • Physical Dimensions: 101 1/2 x 185 1/2 in. (257.8 x 471.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. in memory of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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