“The Titan’s Goblet” by Thomas Cole


Thomas Cole (1801-1848)
“The Titan’s Goblet” (1833)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, United States

“The Titan’s Goblet” has been called a “picture within a picture” and a “landscape within a landscape”: the goblet stands on conventional terrain, but its inhabitants live along its rim in a world all their own. Vegetation covers the entire brim, broken only by two tiny buildings, a Greek temple and an Italian palace. The vast waters are dotted with sailing vessels. Where the water spills upon the ground below, grass and a more rudimentary civilization spring up.

Recognized as a unique artwork, “The Titan’s Goblet” was the only pre-20th-century American painting included at the Museum of Modern Art’s “Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism” exhibition of 1936.