Landscape as World Picture: Tracing Cultural Evolution in Images

Overview

This book presents a new and comprehensive bid concerning the manner in which landscapes in Western pictorial art may be interpreted in relation to the cultures that created them. Its point of departure is a hitherto unexplored development pattern that characterizes landscape representation from Paleolithic cave paintings through to 19th century modernity. Through a structuralist comparison between this pattern and three additional fields of analysis - self consciousness, socially determined perceptions of ...

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Overview

This book presents a new and comprehensive bid concerning the manner in which landscapes in Western pictorial art may be interpreted in relation to the cultures that created them. Its point of departure is a hitherto unexplored development pattern that characterizes landscape representation from Paleolithic cave paintings through to 19th century modernity. Through a structuralist comparison between this pattern and three additional fields of analysis - self consciousness, socially determined perceptions of nature, and world picture - a fascinating insight into culture's macro-historic organization is extrapolated. Not least it is argued controversially that culture at a certain level of observation is marked by a directional evolution. The gradual accentuation of a viewpoint found in landscape images can, in this way, be read as a sign of how self-consciousness - the notion of an 'I' detached from nature - develops. And, in the raw rocky terrain and vividly coloured skies that are introduced in ancient and medieval landscape images, there is testimony of how cosmos split into a chaotic Mother Earth and an indestructible masculine sky. Finally, the book demonstrates that the landscape images' incorporation or exclusion of traces of cultivation (e.g. fields, roads, hedges) is dependent on what the powers-that-be think about physical work.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9788779342873
  • Publisher: Aarhus University Press
  • Publication date: 9/11/2009
  • Pages: 1125

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