Tempest and Shipwreck in Dutch and Flemish Art: Convention, Rhetoric, and Interpretation

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This innovative study is the first to analyze systematically an important category of Netherlandish seascape—the storm at sea. It addresses the fundamental issues of meaning and purpose that such pictures pose for students of Dutch landscape and, indeed, of all Dutch realism. Bringing together a vast body of imagery and texts never before assembled, Goedde places this imagery within historical and cultural contexts that permit us to enter into the ideas, values, and metaphorical associations that such pictures ...

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Overview

This innovative study is the first to analyze systematically an important category of Netherlandish seascape—the storm at sea. It addresses the fundamental issues of meaning and purpose that such pictures pose for students of Dutch landscape and, indeed, of all Dutch realism. Bringing together a vast body of imagery and texts never before assembled, Goedde places this imagery within historical and cultural contexts that permit us to enter into the ideas, values, and metaphorical associations that such pictures held for seventeenth-century viewers. He amplifies this iconographic study with a meticulous and subtle analysis of narrative incident and expressive form that, while respecting the naturalism of the art, reveals its surprisingly conventional and rhetorical character. In particular Goedde links the meaning of Dutch tempest paintings with a rhetorical tradition in Dutch literature. Through his analysis he is able to offer fresh insights not only into these seascapes but into the interpretation of all pre-Romantic landscapes as well.

This book is addressed at once to specialists in Dutch art and to a broad group of art historians and scholars concerned with cultural history and the relation of literature to art. It offers a survey of the tempest in art and literature from antiquity to the modern era in order to define the conventional elements of Dutch painting and writing on this theme. An exceptional feature of this study is the author’s analysis of the ways conventions encode meaning in both literary and pictorial representations. Explicating these conventional structures and themes in terms of the cosmology of correspondences and of elemental love and strife, Goedde’s discussion both encourages and controls metaphorical interpretation of stormscapes. This study also offers an essential historical background to anyone concerned with the picturesque, sublimity, and Romanticism in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century culture because of the importance of the themes of storm and shipwreck in the later period.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271004877
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1989
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence Otto Goedde is Professor of the History of Art at the University of Virginia.

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