V29099 Thomas Moran Sketching in The Grand Canyon. (hand tinted)

Before the Grand Canyon was as well known as it is today the paintings of the celebrated artist, Thomas Moran, did much to acquaint the world with the scenic splendor of this region. An artist of great ability, he succeeded as has none other in depicting on canvas the resplendent colorful glories of this, the most stupendous of sights. One of his most famous paintings of the Canyon hangs in the Capitol in Washington.

Red is the predominant color of the Canyon, though every color of the rainbow plays into is vast spaces. These colors are constantly varying, never exactly the same for two successive moments. There are the dazzling effects of the noonday sun and the mysterious shadows by moonlight. The glories of sunrise and sunset are indescribable — symphonies of living color.

“Color is king here,” writes Joaquin Miller. “Take the grandest, sublimest thing the world has ever seen,” he adds, “fashion it as if the master minds form the beginning had wrought here, paint it as only the masters of old could paint, and you have El Canyon Grande del Colorado! Looking down more than half a mile into this fifteen-by-two-hundred-and-eighteen-mile paint pot, I continually ask: ‘Is any fifty miles of Mother Earth that I have known as fearful, or any part as fearful, as full of glory, as full of God?’ ”

We are on the very brink of the Canyon, in a cove adjacent Yavapai Point, looking east of north. Observe the dark shadows cast by the ragged western walls of the canyon opposite. That is Bright Angel Canyon. It is perhaps the most spectacular of all the minor canyons tributary to the Grand Canyon.

This view carries the signature of an inspector: