The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
If, to the English, landscape was a religion, then to the Americans
it was their bible. The English celebrated their landscape in Constable’s
tidy countryside scenes and in Turner’s stormy seas. In literature,
Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress became their
moral guide through the wilderness of life. It took newcomers to America another
century or so to catch up, so awed were they by the vastness of their adopted
country. A wilderness heretofore only imagined became nothing less than the
voice of the creator. Some set out to discover its limits, others preserved
it in essays and novels. Thomas Cole (1801-1848), a transplanted Englishman,
painted it. His Voyage of Life, an allegorical work
of the mysterious progress of human life through all its vicissitudes, captured
America’s imagination. In a sense, it might be called the pictorial
expression of the familiar Pilgrim’s Progress.
Southgate MT. The Voyage of Life: Youth. JAMA. 2005;294(9):1005. doi:10.1001/jama.294.9.1005