In Psalm 8, the psalmist weaves a beautifully complex relationship between humanity and nature. "The artist, Thomas Cole, was one of America's premier painters. His strongly held belief in the power of this complex relationship between the transcendent, humanity, and nature drove the subject matter of many of his paintings.
As the young country grew from a frontier to an emerging world power, Cole's paintings developed as well, as "nature came to symbolize communal rather than spiritual and personal values...stylistic and thematic changes betoken his withdrawal from what he called ‘the daily strife’ of America in the 1840s into a religiously inspired vision of personal salvation. While he looked to art as an antidote to the rampant materialism of Americans, he nonetheless felt discouraged over the social role of artists and the opportunities for patronage available to them in a democratic culture. Cole remained at root culturally disenchanted, in search of a stability that he found only in private withdrawal and religion." [GDA, "Thomas Cole" by Angela L. Miller]