Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts

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Salim Kemal, Ivan Gaskell
Cambridge University Press, Dec 7, 1995 - Philosophy - 278 pages
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Landscape, natural beauty and the arts offers probing studies of the complex structure of aesthetic responses to nature. Each chapter refines and expands the terms of discussion, and together they enrich the debate with insights from art history, literary criticism, geography and philosophy. To establish a framework, T.J. Diffey explores a conception of natural beauty free from metaphysical commitments, while R.W. Hepburn considers what constitutes seriousness and triviality in the appreciation of nature. Both explain their claims by reference to art. The next papers investigate the determination of natural beauty by the arts. John Barrell analyzes the social construction of nature and the viewing subject in eighteenth-century paintings, and P. Adams Sitney clarifies how another medium - film - construes nature and determines our appreciation. Turning from the representation to the represented, Don Gifford considers the influence of the American wilderness on conceptions of natural beauty. Next Yi-Fu Tuan looks to the relation of human beings to icescapes and deserts, suggesting that perceptions of natural beauty too often depend on experiences of temperate climates. Perhaps the strongest contrast to the otherness of nature lies in its circumscription in gardening. Stephanie Ross shows how this structures contemporary environmental art. Developing the themes of the duality of gardens - their close reference to nature, and their construction out of nature under the aegis of high art - Donald Crawford defends the viability of comparisons between art and nature generally; Allen Carlson contends that the scientific understanding of nature provides a vocabulary that is inescapable even in aesthetic appreciation; and Arnold Berleant considers whether aesthetics harbors distinctive experiences, of art and nature, as part of the larger question: is appreciation engagement or contemplation? Finally, Noel Carroll explores the room for an emotional response to natural beauty, rooted in cognitions that are not simply scientific.

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Nature fine arts and aesthetics
Natural beauty without metaphysics
Trivial and serious in aesthetic appreciation of nature
The public prospect and the private view the politics of taste in eighteenthcentury Britain
Landscape in the cinema the rhythms of the world and the camera
The touch of landscape
Desert and ice ambivalent aesthetics
Gardens earthworks and environmental art
Comparing natural and artistic beauty
Appreciating art and appreciating nature
The aesthetics of art and nature
On being moved by nature between religion and natural history

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