The Voyage of Life: Childhood

After Thomas Cole (American, 1801-1848)
James Smillie, Engraver (American, 1807-1885)

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Cole’s allegorical cycle depicts the four stages of life with a voyager drifting down a river through landscapes that manifest the sentiments of each age. In Childhood an infant emerges from a cave, guided by his guardian angel into a world of abundance seen in soft morning light. Cole’s painted cycle was acquired by the Art-Union in 1849 with the intention of having the four engraved, but the organization’s demise in 1852 left the issuance of the engravings to private hands.

(The Philadelphia Print Shop Ltd, Philadelphia); (Pia Gallo, New York, New York); purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2012.

Object Information

After Thomas Cole (American, 1801-1848)
James Smillie (American, 1807-1885)
creation date
engraving on Japanese paper chine collé to white wove paper
15-1/2 x 22-5/8 in. (image)
18-3/4 x 24-1/2 in. (sheet)
22-7/8 x 26-3/4 in. (mount)
accession number
credit line
Dr. Kenneth R. Shaffer Fund
Public Domain
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

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