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We look out onto a sweeping, panoramic view with trees, their leaves fiery orange and red, framing a view of a distant body of water under a sun-streaked sky in this long, horizontal landscape painting. The horizon comes about halfway up the composition, and is lined with hazy mountains and clouds in the deep distance. Close examination slowly reveals miniscule birds tucked into the crimson-red, golden yellow, and deep, sage-green leaves of the trees to either side of the painting. Closest to us, vine-covered, fallen tree trunks and mossy gray boulders line the bottom edge of the canvas. Beyond a trickling waterfall and small pool near the lower left corner, and tiny within the scale of the landscape, a group of three men and their dogs sit and recline around a blanket and a picnic basket, their rifles leaning against a tree nearby. The land sweeps down to a grassy meadow crossed by a meandering stream that winds into the distance, at the center of the painting. Touches of white and gray represent a flock of grazing sheep in the meadow. A low wooden bridge spans the stream to our right, and a few cows drink from the riverbank. Smoke rises from chimneys in a town lining the riverbank and shoreline beyond, and tiny white sails and steamboats dot the waterway. Light pours onto the scene with rays like a starburst from behind a lavender-gray cloud covering the sun, low in the sky. The artist signed the painting as if he had inscribed the flat top of a rock at the lower center of the landscape with his name, the title of the painting, and date: “Autumn – on the Hudson River, J.F Cropsey, London 1860.”

Jasper Francis Cropsey, Autumn - On the Hudson River, 1860, oil on canvas, Gift of the Avalon Foundation, 1963.9.1

The Art of Looking

Jasper Francis Cropsey, Autumn - On the Hudson River

  • Friday, September 2, 2022
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Registration Required
  • Virtual Program

In the spirit of the autumn season, Jasper Francis Cropsey's Autumn - On the Hudson River is the inspiration for this interactive conversation. Join us and share your observations, interpretations, questions, and ideas, and build on your own first impressions to broaden your understanding of this work of art.

This session lasts one hour and is completely interactive. National Gallery educators will facilitate the conversation to create an environment for shared learning. These conversations will encourage you to engage deeply with art, with others, and with the world around you as you hone skills in visual literacy and perspective-taking.

This program is free and open to the public and is designed for anyone interested in talking about art. No art or art history background is required. Ages 18 and over.

Due to the interactive nature of this program, sessions are not recorded.

Live Captions

Live captions (CART) are available in some breakout rooms for this program. Please contact [email protected] to request access or for more information.