As a painter of the American landscape, Thomas Moran’s depictions of Yellowstone National Park are some of the most celebrated to have emerged during the nineteenth century. His monumental painting The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, now in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum, was acquired by the United States Government in 1872, the same year it was completed.
Jupiter Terrace, Yellowstone is an 1893 oil on canvas that depicts a portion of the lower terrace of Mammoth Hot Springs, which are located in the Northwest corner of Wyoming south of Gardiner, Montana. Moran captures their fleeting beauty with a fiery palette of orange and yellow hues that contrast with shades of blue seen in pools of water and a vast expanse of sky. Moran’s delicate brushwork captures the subtle effects of light as it reflects off geothermal steam emerging from the hot springs.
Moran once recalled, “I have wandered over a good part of the Territories and have seen much of the varied scenery of the Far West, but that of the Yellowstone retains its hold upon my imagination with a vividness as of yesterday… The impression then made upon me by the stupendous and remarkable manifestations of nature’s forces will remain with me as long as my memory lasts.”