UMaine Art Historian to Give Talk at UMM on March 6

MACHIAS, Maine – The University of Maine at Machias will host art historian Dr. Justin Wolff on Thursday, March 6, as part of its Libra Landscape Speaker Series. Dr. Wolff will give a lecture titled “Experience, Allegory, and the Sublime: Thomas Cole’s Romantic Landscapes” beginning at 7 p.m. in room 102 of the Science Building at UMM. The talk is free and open to the public.

Dr. Wolff is an associate professor of art history at the University of Maine, where he also serves as director of the University of Maine Humanities Initiative. He teaches courses on modern, contemporary, and American art, as well as art theory and criticism. His research has focused on the politics of populist art in the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and in addition to art criticism he has published two books, Richard Caton Woodville: American Painter, Artful Dodger and Thomas Hart Benton: A Life. 

Dr. Wolff’s lecture will examine landscape paintings by the American artist Thomas Cole (1801–1848). He will explore how Cole’s paintings of the Catskill Mountains region represented various Romantic-era conceptions of the American wilderness. Cole’s early depictions of the Catskill scenery—of Kaaterskill Falls in particular—formulated a private symbolism of the phenomenological sublime, which contrast with an emphasis on a more allegorical sublime in his later paintings. By charting the transformations in Cole’s representations of American scenery, Dr. Wolff will demonstrate the varied meanings nature and landscape held for Romantic artists and writers—and that they continue to hold for contemporary viewers.

The Libra Landscape Speaker Series at UMM is aimed at exploring the theme of landscape in diverse academic disciplines, from the visual arts, environmental studies, and anthropology, to recreation, biology, psychology, and others. The series is made possible with funding from the Libra Foundation.

For more information, contact Chad Everett at 255-1360 or