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Asher B. Durand painted Kindred Spirits as a memorial to Thomas Cole, who had recently died. Cole stands with a portfolio on an outcropping in the Catskill Mountains. He converses with William Cullen Bryant, a naturalist and poet. Cole’s presence in the scene is one clue that this is an imagined landscape, as if it existed in a heavenly or spiritual realm. For many, including Cole, landscapes provided spaces in which to commune with God and the divine.