The older I grow and the longer I look at landscapes, the more convinced I am that their beauty is not simply an aspect but their very essence, and that that beauty derives from the human presence.

John Brinckerhoff Jackson (1909-1996)



We are surrounded with things which we have not made and which have a life and structure different from our own: trees, flowers, grasses, rivers, hills, clouds. For centuries they have inspired us with curiosity and awe. They have been objects of delight. We have recreated them in our imaginations to reflect our moods. And we have come to think of them as contributing to an idea which we have called nature. Landscape painting marks the stages in our conception of nature. Its rise and development since the Middle Ages is part of a cycle in which the human spirit attempted once more to create a harmony with its environment.

Kenneth Clark, Landscape into Art (1944)

Giorgione_tempestGiorgione, The Tempest (1508)


Johannes Vermeer, View on Delft (1661)


Thomas Gainsborough, Mr.and Mrs Robert Andrews (c. 1748–1750)


William Turner, Snow Storm, Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps (1812)

Wild Poppies  Near Argenteuil

Claude Monet, Wild Poppies Near Argenteuil (1873)


Paul Klee Landscape with yellow church tower (1920)


The invention of Urban Leisure

These semiotic features on landscape, and the historical narratives they generate, are tailor-made for the discourse of imperialism, which conceives itself precisely (and simultaneusly) as an expression of landscape understood as an inevitable, progressive development in history, an expansion of “culture” and “civilization” into a “natural” space in a progress that is itself narrated as “natural”. Empires move outward in space as a way of moving forward in time; the “prospect” that opens up is not just a spatial scene but a projected future of “development” and explotation. And this movement is not confined to the external, foriegn fields towards the empire directs itself; it is typically accompained by a renewed interest in the re-presentation of the home landscape, the “nature” of imperial center. 

William J. Thomas Mitchell, Landscape and Power (1994)


IMG_1133 Para Seurat

The invention of Urban Leisure