Touring Olana as a three dimensional artistic composition

Olana from afar

Emily sent along this photo from one of the carriage paths as an example -- the lake, meadow, slope, trees, and house were all part of Church's design.

The Olana State Historic Site in Hudson -- the home and studio of Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church -- has a new tour this season, and it highlights an aspect of the site that was new to us: That the area around the beautiful home is itself a designed landscape.

The guided electric vehicle tour follows roughly five miles of the carriage road system on the 250-acre site, surveying the various landscape elements that Church designed.

We heard about the new tour via Emily Lemieux*, who's been leading it. And we emailed her to find a more. Here's a clip from her response:

Frederic Church wasn't just a landscape painter, he was a landscape architect and the entire 250 acres of Olana is a designed landscape, a three dimensional artistic composition. It's like Disney Land for Art History fans.
There are certain key points on the landscape tours where its exceedingly clear one is essentially inside a living Hudson River School painting, that Church used all the effects he would use in a painting, having a foreground, background, focal points, negative space, by using physical characteristics -- like creating meadows, wilderness areas (planting large amounts of native trees), and an artificial lake, and borrowing other effects including the changing weather and unfolding background views of the Hudson River and Catskills, to create the same feelings in 3 dimensions as one would have in response to his 2 dimensional artwork.
Church was appointed a parks commissioner for Central Park in 1871, brought in by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, and in a sense the whole of Olana is like Central Park with various landscape features that don't just happen to be that way, but were designed that way on purpose by the artist. Much of Church's original vision has been restored through a private/public partnership between New York State Parks and The Olana Partnership, and the work continues. So much was also remarkably intact as well in terms of land, art, and archival collections at the time Olana was saved 50 years ago.

The electric vehicle tour is intended to provide a similar experience of the landscape as visitors to Olana had in the 19th century when they would ride up to the house in carts pulled by donkeys.

The Olana landscape tours are offered Fridays and Sundays at 11:15 am and 2:15 pm. They're $25 per person. Reservations are recommended. There's also a guided walking landscape tour on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 11:15 am and 2:15 pm -- tickets for that are $12 / $10 students and seniors.

* Emily has written for AOA in the past.

Earlier on AOA: Visiting Olana (2009)

Comments

And a new WMHT program on Olana premieres May 31 at 7:30pm.
wmht.org/olana

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Today's moment of summerfall

Monday's high temperature hit 91 degrees -- a new record the date. And the high Sunday was 90 degrees, another record. Near the end of... (more)

Let Dogs Be Dogs at Northshire Saratoga

The authors of Let Dogs Be Dogs -- Brother Christopher of the Monks of New Skete and Marc Goldberg -- will be at Northshire Saratoga... (more)

Cardi B at TU Center

Rapper Cardi B is headlining a "Homecoming Concert 2017" show at the TU Center October 21. Tickets went on sale this past Friday -- they're... (more)

AOA Startup Grant 2017 finalists

This is always the hard part of the AOA Startup Grant contest: Narrowing the field down to three entries. Because, as it is every year,... (more)

This is Not a Test at the Arts Center

Something different: Aaron Marquise is bringing his contemporary clown show This is Not a Test to the Arts Center of the Capital Region for a... (more)

Recent Comments

Imagine if a mixed use development - apartments, townhouses, restaurants, offices, a park - were built on the Rensselaer riverfront, and people on both sides could go to work and go out in either Albany or Renss, just by walking to a gondola station? If people had reason to traverse the Hudson - in both directions - for a reason other than commuting or getting to/from the train station, a gondola could be an awesome (and financially self-sustaining) idea, that also cuts down on the need for parking. ...

AOA Startup Grant 2017 finalists

...has 1 comment, most recently from jsc

If you want to provide direct feedback on that Capital District Gondola idea, here's your chance

...has 23 comments, most recently from Chad

They Might Be Giants at The Egg

...has 1 comment, most recently from Ewan

Night of the Walking Red V

...has 1 comment, most recently from BS

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 3 comments, most recently from Megan M