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Nineteenth-century British landscape painters quivered in the face of Mother Nature, savoring notions that her impetuous lashings could quash humanity in one blow. These Romantics read landscapes like tea leaves, hoping to discern nature’s mutable disposition. Painter John Constable declared the sky “the key note, standard scale, and the chief organ of sentiment” and studied clouds with a meteorologist’s fascination, gleaning moods both picturesque and sublime from a cumulus’s rotund turn or a cirrus’s languid curl. But many of the British artists who emigrated to America viewed landscape differently: They sought symbols of permanence, not volatility, in the untamed land surrounding them. Canvases by American landscapists like Thomas Cole celebrated nature’s endurance: His renderings of Adirondack mountains possess the eternal quietude of the Pyramids. Corcoran curator Sarah Cash and George Washington University professor Lilien Robinson compare and contrast c in a slide-illustrated lecture at 7:30 p.m. at the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Hammer Auditorium, 17th & New York Ave. NW. $15. For reservations call (202) 639-1770. (Jessica Dawson)