Sacred Nature: Perceptions of Nature in the Writings and Works of the Hudson River School and the Northern Song Dynasty Landscape Painters Open Access

Goldblum, Nathaniel (Spring 2021)

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This study examines similarities and differences of conceptions of nature as sacred in the landscape painting movements of the Hudson River School in nineteenth century America and the Song Dynasty in eleventh century China. To accomplish this comparison, historical, religious, philosophical, and other cultural elements of each tradition are analyzed for how they contributed to unique perceptions of nature as sacred. The primary axis of comparison focuses on close readings of two central texts, one from each tradition, - Asher B. Durand's Letters on Landscape Painting and Guo Xi's The Lofty Message of Forests and Streams for America and China respectively - which epitomize their respective times and beliefs. The ideology and practice which both cultures produced are strikingly similar and yet subtly different. The study demonstrates the intersection of art, ideology, and religion and supports contextual readings of nature and art as relevant to society.

Table of Contents

Introduction, 1

American Landscape Painting, 4

Setting the Stage, 4

Romantic Ideals, 6

The Golden Age of American Landscapes, 15

Asher B. Durand's Letters on Landscape Painting, 18

Chinese Landscape Painting, 41

Setting the Stage, 41

Daoism & Buddhism, 43

The Birth of Landscape Painting, 46

Guo Xi’s The Lofty Message of Forests and Streams (泉高致) - Linchuan gaozhi, 52

Ideology to Art, 75

Conclusion: Landscapes Across Time and Space, 89

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