Chrisopher Pearse Cranch

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A Pencil Sketcy of Cranch by William Wetmore Story

Cranch, Christopher Pearse (8 March 1813 - 20 January 1892)

The son of a Virginia judge who became a transcendentalist, Cranch was educated at the Cambridge Divinity School, graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1835, and became the assistant pastor to Unitarian minister Frederick Henry Hedge, leaving in 1842.

From 1837 to 1839, he edited Western Messenger, one of the first Transcendentalist magazines, with James Freeman Clarke. It defended Ralph Waldo Emerson, Amos Bronson Alcott, Orestes Brownson, and liberal Unitarianism in general against the attacks of the religiously orthodox.

Emerson the Transparent Eyeball

His mildly satirical caricatures of transcendentalism became popular, especially his drawings of Emerson as a “transparent eyeball” and a pumpkin, based on passages from Emerson’s Nature. He shows his freethought sentiments in Satan: A Libretto (1874).

Cranch published early poetry in the Dial and the Harbinger. Later, he published some poetry in his collection The Bird and the Bell with Other Poems (1875).

A landscape painter, he traveled to Europe to study the masters, returning to the United States where he became known as painting in the style of the Hudson River School.

Niagara: American Falls, an 1853 Oil on Canvas by Cranch

"Trancendental Landscapes of Christopher Pearse Cranch" is an exhibition from 12 October 2007 to 25 February 2008 at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, Connecticut, after which it will be on view at the Newington-Cropsey Foundation in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, until 31 May 2008.

{RAT; U&U}