“Thomas Cole created The Architect’s Dream for prominent New York architect Ithiel Town, who commissioned a landscape from the artist in 1839. Town paid Cole in cash and books from his extensive architectural library, which inspired the painting’s fantastic composition. Cole was, in his own words, “something of an architect,” and provided the plans for the Ohio State Capitol, and also for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Catskill after an earlier building burned down in 1839. Cole’s friend William Cullen Bryant described The Architect’s Dream as “an assemblage of structures, Egyptian, Gothic, Grecian, Moorish, such as might present itself to the imagination of one who had fallen asleep after reading a work on the different styles of architecture.” Cole finished The Architect’s Dream in only five weeks, exhibiting it in the 1840 National Academy of Design annual exhibition, where it received mixed reviews. Some critics found it “too full of poetry,” while others declared it “display[ed] as much genius as many of his best.” Unfortunately, Cole’s patron was on the opposing side, and ultimately refused to accept the painting because it was “exclusively Architectural.” – Explore Thomas Cole.