Art of the Landscape

Art of the Landscape

Translated by Corrado Federici
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Art of the Landscape
    Book Description:

    Drawing from philosophical traditions, literature, and art, he calls the reader's attention to a special consciousness, originally established during the pre-Romantic age, that has become a distinctive feature of contemporary spirituality. Focusing on the definition of landscapes in relation to the concepts of nature, environment, territory, and man-made settings such as gardens and cities, Milani examines the origins of the predilection for natural scenery in the works of landscape painters and in travel literature. He addresses the distinctness of the aesthetic experience of landscapes, analyses the role of aesthetic categories, and explores landscape art as a medium of contemplation.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7578-3
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
    • 1 Aesthetics of the Environment
      (pp. 3-27)

      Near the end ofCombray(Remembrance of Things Past), we wonder how it is possible to speak of or describe the beauty of the world. The answer is that we must overcome the disparity between our impressions and their expression (“le désaccord entre nos impressions et leur expression”). As Starobinski (1999, 157) points out, Marcel Proust introduces the theme of emotion, which needs to acquire the verbal and visual means appropriate to the interpretation of that beauty through the application of a rhetoric of the ineffable. It is an experience of limit that presents a vast array of motifs, correspondences,...

    • 2 What Is the Landscape?
      (pp. 28-53)

      Before an unbounded nature, before the images of its countless particulars represented in our mind (from trees and torrents to fields of sunflowers and rolling hills), before nature’s “spiritual physiognomy” that corresponds to the full spectrum of our most intimate feelings, then, we are convinced that something exists that transcends this vast, extremely rich panorama of disparate elements. To our conscious minds, that something takes the form of all-enveloping, diffused totality, like an uninterrupted flow of emotions and perceptual data, an affective irradiation. That something is the landscape. It is more than the sum of the parts, of the individual...

    • 3 The Sentimental Journey
      (pp. 54-82)

      In the recent history of the West, the question often arises as to what the journey means in the context culture and art, entwining as it does ancient and modern themes, memories of the past and present reality. Irrespective of destination, whether real (such as Rome, Naples, Sicily, Greece) or imaginary (such as Shangri-La, Lilliput, Aleph, Pallas), the journey has been an instrument of aesthetic exploration in the quest for the authentic and the pure, as opposed to the disfigured image of earth.

      It can be said that all travellers are sentimentalists, including Goethe, despite his piece (1787) against sentimentalism...

    • 4 The Art of the Landscape
      (pp. 85-113)

      Beginning with ancient Greece, unrestricted contemplation of the totality of nature fell within the domain of philosophy, but, with the passage of time, this totality died. The landscape separates itself off from the theory of the cosmos and, in human representations, nature is perceived through it. This constitutes a loss in the form of a laceration and regret, which we often find evoked in Romantic poetry. Henceforth, the landscape is seen as invention or as a substitute for nature.

      Natural beauty, a quality of the universe consisting of harmony, order, and serenity, splits into a number of aesthetic categories. A...

    • 5 Contemplation of the Landscape
      (pp. 114-132)

      In art, contemplating is different from doing. In my mind I can produce images of landscapes derived from the models provided by Western civilization or I can admire the beauty of the forms independently of these models. As does the garden, the landscape arranges natural images for my mind. The art of the landscape is, in a sense, already made, even though it is in the process of transformation. It obeys the laws of the physical modification of the land, but also the laws of human sensibility and invention (cultivation, management, and so on).

      The landscape presents itself to our...

    • 6 Morphology of Natural Beauties
      (pp. 135-167)

      Scientific texts describe water as a colourless and tasteless liquid. Although very important, this definition does not apply to aesthetic perception, which relies on sensibility and the imagination. Furthermore, the creative experience of art demonstrates that water has its own radiant beauty, consisting of light, colours, sounds, tastes, and even fragrances. It would not be surprising to discover that someone had composed an “ode to water,” possibly in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. It is an aspect of the wonder of the elements, the fundamental components of the physical world, which can be seen either in harmony or in conflict...

  7. Conclusion The Mirror of the Senses and of Reason
    (pp. 168-172)

    The gaze fixed on the landscape has inspired many writers and painters to immerse themselves in a vision in which they bring together the world of reality and that of dreams. The rising or setting of the sun, the alternation of day and night, as well as of the seasons, has inspired a visionariness with respect to the hours and to places. In the splendour of eternal change, a thought of Heraclitus comes to mind: “Awake, men have a common world, but each sleeper reverts to his private world” (14, A 99); this thought is echoed in another of his...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 173-196)
  9. Index
    (pp. 197-208)