Thomas Moran’s landscape painting, Mountain of the Holy Cross, which was created in 1875, depicts a scene from Colorado’s Sawatch Range. Moran embraced the style of religious romanticism and aimed to draw Americans closer to an appreciation of their religious realism. The painting appealed predominantly to white Christian audiences due to its association with Mount Sinai. However, the painting’s religious element does not detract from its overall majesty.
Moran drew inspiration from his first visit to Yellowstone National Park in 1871 when he saw the wondrous landscape that would later become one of America’s most famous national parks. His masterpiece led to a series of prints, posters, and postcards that transformed this mountain into an iconic image embedded in popular culture.
In the painting, viewers are situated at the bottom of a river whose strength is evidenced by tree trunks left upended upstream after being felled by powerful currents. This artwork highlights the incredible natural beauty of Colorado’s mountains while drawing attention to Moran’s artistic skill in capturing their majesty on canvas.
Lastly, collectors and art enthusiasts can find etchings and prints of this masterpiece by Thomas Moran available through auctions or collection purchases.