May 4, 1826 — Artist Frederic Edwin Church was born in Hartford, Connecticut.

Image: GIF of Frederick E. Church. , None. [Between 1855 and 1865] Photograph. .
GIF of Sanitary Fair . New York United States, 1864. [United States: Publisher not identified] Photograph. .
"I n order to depict nature in its exalted sublimity, we must not dwell exclusively on its external manifestations, but we must trace its image, reflected in the mind of man, at one time filling the dreamy land of physical myths with forms of grace and beauty, and at another developing the noble germ of artistic creations."

—Alexander von Humboldt, introduction to volume 2 of Cosmos , 1847

Inspired by his intellectual mentor, Alexander von Humboldt, Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church created one of his most regarded works, Heart of the Andes, 1859 (pictured left) after his second trip to Ecuador in 1857.
Church answered Humboldt’s call to artists to depict the grand and diverse beauty of nature. The artist sketched the complex ecosystems he encountered and his final canvases merged scientific precisionism with Judeo-Christian themes. Church painted his South American canvases on a large scale in his studio and then exploited the spectacular subject matter through elaborate displays. It was during his first trip however, that Church created Reynolda's The Andes of Ecuador (1855), which continues to inspire audiences over 160 years after its creation.
The Andes of Ecuador on view in Reynolda's Reception Hall, 2017.
Wake Forest Class of 2014 uses The Andes of Ecuador as a guide for their freshman orientation, 2010.
The purchase of The Andes of Ecuador in 1966 was groundbreaking for Reynolda's growing permanent collection. The first meeting of the acquisition committee took place in late 1966 at Kennedy Galleries, a distinguished enterprise that focused on American art. Representatives of Reynolda saw the canvas and expressed amazement at its beauty. Even though they knew little about the artist, they instantly recognized his ability to create the illusion of a vast scene radiant with tropical light. ( Reynolda: Her Muses, Her Stories , Martha R. Severens)
Collections staff expertly move The Andes of Ecuador for installation in the Babcock Gallery, 2018.
On view during Frederic Church: A Painter's Pilgrimage , 2018.
This gem in Reynolda's collection has an almost permanent placement in the historic house. However, in January 2018, it was on view in the Babcock Wing gallery as a part of Detroit Institute of Art's traveling exhibition, Frederic Church: A Painter's Pilgrimage , where more than 10,000 visitors enjoyed seeing this and his many other masterpieces in a new light.  The Andes of Ecuador  will return to the Reception Hall later this summer.