The Politics of the Picturesque

Stephen Copley and Peter Garside

 

 

British aesthetic - 1790's-1800's- 3rd category Burkes 'Sublime' & 'Beautiful'

plays significant part in definition of Gothic and Romantic

 

were many disagreements as to what it was

 

conflicts between theory and popular fashion

 

french 'pittoresque'/ italian 'pittoresco' = all subjects suitable for painting

Sidney K Robinson- Inquiry into the picturesque-

arrises from ' dissatisfaction with a compositional mode that seeks seamless control over all constituent elements'

 

Uvedale Price- different to GILPIN

roughness and irregularity

an arrangement that does not press for a conclusion

- implies a preexisting condition of plentitude

midled- entertained or challenged- viewer's uncertainty

 

Kim Ian Michasiw- 'nine revisionist theses on the picturesque'

attacks the assumption that 'a writer like william gilpin composes his guides to picturesque travel as a way of reconciling nature with art, making the walking tour itself a near relation to and opposite number to the 18th c landscape garden.

 

Gilpins 'enlightenment game' with the artifices of perception and representation, his self- aware ironic playfulness, are the antithesis of Romantic mystifactory absolutism, even if the latter picturesque theories fall prey to that absolutism.

 

demystification of art

 

on the one hand, time and mutability are essential to, and indices of , Picturesque decorative effects; on the other, the Picturesque has been presented as resolutely ahistorical in it's deflection of socially consequential interpretations of favoured aesthetic objects such as ruins.

 

domestic aesthetic- shape accounts of colonial landscapes. continuing legacy.

 

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linked to changes in agricultural & commercial economies.

 

John Barrel- the perspective offered by the picturesque appears as the 'transcendent viewing-position which had through the 18th century been regarded as the pre-requisite of the gentleman

 

the Picturesuqe eye; detatched from all cramping restrictions or specialisation, surveys 'the natural' with 'pure unmediated vision' , when 'the natural' is located in the picturesque forms devoid of ethical, political, or sentimental meanings'

 

a rival version of transcendent vision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Picturesuqe eye; detatched from all cramping restrictions or specialisation, surveys 'the natural' with 'pure unmediated vision' , when 'the natural' is located in the picturesque forms devoid of ethical, political, or sentimental meanings'