Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Exploring the Sublime

The Sublime is an aesthetic philosophy that can be traced to the 1st century treatise On the Sublime but was extensively developed in the 18th and 19th centuries in England, most notably by Edmund Burke, in Germany by Kant, Schopenhauer and Hegel, and in France by Victor Hugo.

I am giving the Sublime its own post because this philosophy has had a profound influence on Landscape Painting and is especially significant in the truly revolutionary, successful and influential work of J.M.W. Turner, Caspar David Friedrich, and The American Sublime. Project Gutenberg has made available for download the catalogue for The American Sublime exhibit.

In landscape painting, the sublime is described in vast landscapes with exceptional lighting, sometimes with a human figure juxtaposed against an expansive setting.

Once you grasp the idea of the sublime in Landscape Painting, you'll begin to see the idea expressed by various artists more or less throughout history but especially in the work of particular artists. I've mentioned a few of the artists most identified with the philosophy but, to my mind, the philosophy goes hand in hand with the best experiences of landscape painting on both sides of the easel.

Read my other posts on the history of Landscape Painting.

See my paintings at Landscape into Art.

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