MORRIS MUSEUM OF ART PERMANENT COLLECTION
"Portrait of Western Berkeley Thomas and Emily Howard Thomas of Augusta, Georgia" by George Cooke George Cooke (1793–1849)
Portrait of Western Berkeley Thomas and Emily Howard Thomas of Augusta, Georgia
1840
Oil on canvas
36 x 28½ inches
Museum purchase; 1997.014

Itinerant artists, like George Cooke, traveled the South painting the portraits of well-established Southern families. This portrait of two children demonstrates George Cooke's interest in Romantic portraiture which emphasized the ideal over the real.

Here we see a brother and sister who lovingly lean toward each other while their portrait is painted. Soft hues of color seem to create a glow that emanates from the canvas. Cooke has repeated the color red throughout the canvas in order to put a flattering emphasis on the children. For instance, we can see shapes of red on the girl's shoe, the tie in her dress, the color of the children's rosy cheeks and bright lips, as well as the setting sun in the background.