Written by Allie Gloe, Curatorial Intern
Moran was born in England, but is best known for his panoramic landscapes of the American West. He began his artistic career in his teen years as an engraving apprentice at a magazine firm. He became bored with engraving and started to produce works on paper as sketches using watercolors or oils. He eventually became an illustrator at the firm, and continued to expand his artistic experimentation. Moran was especially intrigued by romantic landscape painter Joseph Mallord William Turner. He admired Turner’s use of oils and watercolors and appreciated his technique. Moran, like Turner, set out to paint a striking and idealized view of nature. With atmospheric effects and romantic settings, Moran used his inspiration from nature to generate his own, personal observation of the landscape. He dedicated a majority of his career to the seductive idea of “Western Exploration” and painted numerous landscapes of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Moran was so closely associated with Yellowstone that he was nicknamed “Thomas Yellowstone Moran” and, soon after, he started to sign his paintings using the initials “T.Y.M.”
Moran also traveled to Europe and Florida to paint landscapes (for example the Ponce de Leon in Florida, also at the Cummer Museum). In his ventures to Europe, Moran made several studies in Venice and painted The Doge’s Palace, Grand Canal, Venice. There are various Moran paintings of the Grand Canal, all of which contain a misty atmosphere, highly reflective water and stunning sunsets. In The Doge’s Palace, Grand Canal, Venice, a cluster of sailboats join each other in the left of the foreground. Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s square are illustrated far into the distance, above the horizon, which is blurred to project the city as a mystical destination.