Saturday, March 21, 2009
Down the Hudson to Hudson
Here's another view of my beloved Hudson River, this one from about 80 miles and two counties south of Saratoga. My husband and I went to the town of Hudson, N.Y., today to visit Olana, the Persian-inspired mansion of the 19th-century landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church. Church, along with his teacher Thomas Cole and a number of others, were originators of the Hudson River School of landscape painters. This was a style of painting that featured dramatic skies and idealized landscapes, and it's easy to see, when you visit here, how the actual landscape of the mid-Hudson valley inspired this kind of painting. There's a luminous quality to the air near the river and a grandeur lent by the looming mountains that inspires a sense of awe.
The mansion Church built for himself and his family also inspires a kind of awe (if also a sense of gratefulness that I live in a simpler home). The interiors are every bit as elaborate as what you can see from outside.
I was happy to go down river for a day (spring is at least a week advanced down there), and happy to come back home. My stretch of the Hudson, while far more intimate, is, to my eyes, just as lovely. And to me more beloved, because I can call all that lives here and grows here by name.