Six degrees of separation in American history, law, literature, and art

Alfred Brophy has a fun post up at Legal History Blog called “Kyra Sedgwick, Catharine Sedgwick, and Landscape Art.”  I won’t spoil the surprise of all the connections he’s found in the talented Sedgwick family, but it’s a great post that gets at the serendipity of the intellecutal life, and the pleasures of interdisciplinarity.  He illustrates his post with a nice Thomas Cole landscape painting, the likes of which is mentioned in passing in a Catharine Sedgwick novel that he’s reading now.

To return the favor, here’s an intriguing painting by Thomas Cole, “The Architect’s Dream” (1840),  in the Toledo Museum of Art.  It’s got it all–Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Gothic, and Neoclassiscal architecture.


Here’s another interesting connection (considerably lower-brow than Professor Brophy’s):  Thomas Cole was part of  the Hudson River school of landscape painters.  Kyra Sedgwick plays a homocide detective on The Closer.  There are a suspiciously large number of homocide victims and perps who were/are affiliated with Hudson University.  (And you thought that your job–or lack of job–was bad!  Trust me, you do not want a job at Hudson, no matter what the teaching load is, or how badly you want to live in New York, or how hunky you think Detective Green is.)  Have a great weekend, everyone, and don’t spend too much of it on bloggy badness, or watching L&O reruns.

0 thoughts on “Six degrees of separation in American history, law, literature, and art

  1. Hi Historiann. Thanks for visiting and commenting at my blog.

    There is a graduate student in my program writing a dissertation on Cole. Personally, I find Cole’s paintings to be hideous. I would rather stare at a Kinkade glowing cottage than a Cole landscape.


  2. That’s a little unfair to Cole, I think–but what I kind of admire (perversely) about “The Architect’s Dream” and others of his paintings is the effort to offer something to everyone. “You like architecture? Well, I’m going to put in something for everyone here, no matter how weirdly contrived.” It’s like that painting that artists Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid put together on the basis of a survey of what U.S. Americans like to see in paintings, and they ended up with a landscape featuring George Washington mingling with deer. (You can see the painting, as well as an explanation of the artists’ project, at Check it out–it’s pretty funny to see how closely it resembles a Thomas Cole painting!

    Thanks for linking to me last weekend–stop by every once in a while, and I’ll do the same for!


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