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The Course of Empire jigsaw

Price: £19.95

The Consummation of Empire is the third in Thomas Cole's five-painting cycle The Course of Empire. The guiding theme for this series-the cyclical pattern of history ­is elaborated through layers of allusive symbolism and imagery that draw upon land­scape aesthetics, art historical precedent, and literary sources. The same landscape is shown in the five canvases, while the passage of time is communicated by changing times of day.

The Consummation is the climactic painting in the series. The sun has reached its acme, and so has Cole's fictional civilization. The abundance of architectural features relies on Dido Building Carthage, a painting by the English artist J. M. W. Turner that Cole had seen on a recent trip to London.

The Course of Empire suggested that all societies were subject to the same inevitable rhythms of growth and decay, but it left open the question of whether or not the United States would break the pattern and avoid extinction.

1,000 piece jigsaw 29 x 20 inches (73 x 50 cm)