Friday, July 30, 2010

The Picturesque and the Romantic Landscape

About the Picturesque. Thomas Locker´s painting

When there exists in any landscape a certain number and diversity of forms and colours, or of their combinations or successions, so as to produce a degree of novelty; and that with a certain repetition, or arrangement of parts, so as to render them gradually comprehensible or easily compared with the usual course of nature; if this agreeable combination of visible objects be on a moderate scale, in respect to magnitude, and form the principal part of the landscape, it is termed Picturesque by modern artists; and when such a combination of forms and colours contains many easy flowing curves and smooth surfaces, the delightful sentiment of Beauty becomes added to the pleasure of the Picturesque.
Two Men Contemplating the Moon (1819). Painting byCaspar David Friedrich 

If the above agreeable combination of novelty and repetition exists on a larger scale with more projecting rocks, and deeper dells, and perhaps with a somewhat greater proportion of novelty than repetition, the landscape assumes the name of Romantic; and if some of these forms or combinations are much above the usual magnitude of similar objects, the more interesting sentiment of Sublimity becomes mixed with the pleasure of the romantic.

From The Temple of Nature; or, The Origin of Society. By Erasmus Darwin, 1802

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