About this Artwork
In this compositional study for Niagara, Church demonstrates his mastery of the depiction of rapidly flowing water. Critics had earlier admired Church’s ambition but criticized his handling of water. This prompted the artist to make a trip to Niagara Falls in 1856 to study of movement of water in preparation for painting Niagara, which in the end, proved his mastery. Church used his oil sketches to learn the natural world; this study is an exercise in virtuosity upon which the artist would rely as he embarked on his Great Pictures. Church hung this sketch at Olana, his home in Hudson, New York.