The Aegean Sea, Frederic Edwin Church (American, Hartford, Connecticut 1826–1900 New York), Oil on canvas, American

The Aegean Sea

Frederic Edwin Church (American, Hartford, Connecticut 1826–1900 New York)
ca. 1877
Oil on canvas
54 in. × 84 1/4 in. (137.2 × 214 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Mrs. William H. Osborn, 1902
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 760
Church toured the Near East and Europe in 1867–69. "The Aegean Sea," his final large-scale picture, is a “composite” landscape, based on sketches and photographs the artist had made in disparate locations: on the left are elements of the carved-rock city of Petra, in present-day Jordan; on the right, ancient Roman columns seen in Syria; and in the distance, a mosque suggesting Constantinople and classical ruins evoking the Acropolis in Athens. A double rainbow provides brilliant illumination for the idealized scene. These Old World sites, hallowed by history and the Bible, helped to confirm Church’s beliefs at a time when new scientific discoveries challenged his faith.
Signature: [at lower left]: F.E. CHURCH
William Henry Osborn, New York (1878–d. 1894); his wife, Mrs. William H. Osborn, New York (1894–d. 1902)