Church toured the Near East and Europe in 1867–69. "The Aegean Sea," his final large-scale picture, is a “composite” landscape, based on sketches and photographs the artist had made in disparate locations: on the left are elements of the carved-rock city of Petra, in present-day Jordan; on the right, ancient Roman columns seen in Syria; and in the distance, a mosque suggesting Constantinople and classical ruins evoking the Acropolis in Athens. A double rainbow provides brilliant illumination for the idealized scene. These Old World sites, hallowed by history and the Bible, helped to confirm Church’s beliefs at a time when new scientific discoveries challenged his faith.
Signature: [at lower left]: F.E. CHURCH
William Henry Osborn, New York (1878–d. 1894); his wife, Mrs. William H. Osborn, New York (1894–d. 1902)