The Iconography of Landscape

The Iconography of Landscape : Essays on the Symbolic Representation, Design and Use of Past Environments

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The Iconography of Landscape, first published in 1988, draws together fourteen scholars from diverse disciplines across the humanities and social sciences to explicate the status of landscape as a cultural image, 'a pictorial way of representing, structuring or symbolising surroundings'. By applying the art-historical method of iconography - interpreting levels of meaning in human artifacts - to landscapes on paper or canvas, in literary form or on its ground, its contributors show how landscape is an important mode of human signification, informed by, and itself informing, social, cultural and political issues. The range of examples is wide in terms of medium, period and place. It covers poetry and promotional literature, architectural design and urban ceremonial, maps and paintings. The historical periods discussed include sixteenth-century Italy, eighteenth-century England, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Scotland and twentieth-century Canada. The book is introduced by the editors' discussion of the meanings of landscape and of the iconographic method in the context of contemporary theoretical and methodological debates on culture and society.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 330 pages
  • 152 x 224 x 24mm | 539.77g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 69 b/w illus. 7 maps 1 table
  • 0521389151
  • 9780521389150
  • 440,809

Table of contents

Preface; Introduction: iconography and landscape Stephen Daniels and Denis Cosgrove; 1. The geography of Mother Nature Peter Fuller; 2. The evocative symbolism of trees Douglas Davies; 3. The political iconography of woodland in later Georgian England Stephen Daniels; 4. Places and dwellings: Wordsworth, Clare and the anti-picturesque John Lacas; 5. Art and agrarian change, 1710-1815 Hugh Prince; 6. 'Fields of radiance': the scientific and industrial scenes of Joseph Wright David Fraser; 7. The privation of history: Landseer, Victoria and the Highland myth Trevor P. Pringle; 8. The iconography of nationhood in Canadian art Brian S. Osborne; 9. Rhetoric of the western interior: modes of environmental description in American promotional literature of the nineteenth century G. Malcolm Lewis; 10. Symbolism, 'ritualism' and the location of crowds in early nineteenth-century English towns Mark Harrison; 11. Symbol of the Second Empire: cultural politics and the Paris Opera House Penelope Woolf; 12. The sphinx in the north: egyptian influences on landscape, architecture and interior design in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Scotland Eric Grant; 13. The geometry of landscape: practical and speculative arts in sixteenth-century Venetian land territories Denis Cosgrove; 14. Maps, knowledge, and power J. B. Harley; Index.
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Review quote

'Coherently set core essays best serve the book's central theme, and are likewise the most satisfying scholarly endeavours. The social and political implications of changing landscape imagery emerge in fascinating detail in John Lucas' examination of Wordsworth's and Clare's ambivalence toward the picturesque; in Hugh Prince's reflections on the nostalgic timelessness of rural scenes from Gainsborough and Richard Wilson to Constable and Turner; and, above all, in Daniels' polished chapter on the political iconography of woodland ... Spirited and attentive editing and virtually impeccable bookmaking make this volume a pleasure to read.' David Lowenthal, History Today
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