Heart of the Andes

‘Heart of the Andes’ (1859), by Frederic Edwin Church
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

It’s no exaggeration to say that when it was unveiled to the public, this painting caused a major sensation. Frederic Edwin Church’s sprawling 5-foot-high and nearly 10-foot-wide canvas is so detailed, grand, and immersive that it not only drew long viewing lines, but reportedly caused dizziness and fainting in some spectators. The hype around this composite illustration of vistas seen in Church’s travels around South America was well-deserved. The work shows the hand of a master landscape artist at his zenith and is widely considered Church’s most famous painting. After several years of public exhibition, it was sold for $10,000, an enormous sum at the time and the highest price paid for any work by a living American artist. Bing