The picturesque: architecture, disgust and other irregularities
When we look at the view while out walking, or when protestors against wind farms criticise them for damaging the 'landscape', or when a 21st-century architect contrives an entrance so as to slowly reveal the space around us, are we exhibiting the same cultural behaviours as those gentlemen aesthetes of the 18th century who employed architects and gardeners to create parks and ruins within them to look at from the windows of their residences?The term picturesque at first described the aesthetical view of nature, in the 18th century when speculation about the relation of 'art' and 'nature' was popular. The idea was aligned with a certain type of painting, the 'landscape' genre, and our current use of the word landscape as an appreciation of the world as if it were a visual artefact is just one example of the way we have absorbed 'the picturesque' into our view of the world perhaps without realising it.The idea of the picturesque and its emergence is relatively well known in British cultural history. The longer history of the picturesque through to its use in the present, however, has rarely been examined. It is the way the picturesque has been developed and received in later forms that forms much of the focus of this book. Traversing the ideas of Kent, Brown, Burke, Reynolds, Gilpin, Price, Knight, Repton, Loudon, Ruskin, Wlfflin, Pevsner, Bois, de Wolfe and Koolhaas, this absorbing and accessible account provides both a useful overview of an important theme in architectural and cultural history, and a sophisticated analysis of it in the context of contemporary concerns with modernity, movement, and visual and critical theory.
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aesthetic agricultural appearance appropriation architects Architectural Review argues argument Art History artists aspects Baroque Baroque architecture beauty Benjamin building butcher's Cambridge chapter Civilia claims classical Collage City concept contrast Corbusier Corbusier's cottage critique culture describes developed discussion disgust eighteenth century English Essays Figure foreground formal genre geometric Gilpin hierarchy of genre human Humphry Repton Ibid idea imagination imitation improvement interest issue John Claudius Loudon John Macarthur John Nash John Ruskin kind Knight Landscape Gardening London Malton Menninghaus movement Nash nature Nikolaus Pevsner object ornament painterly painters painting park pattern books perception Peter Frederick Robinson photographs picture pleasure political Principles prospect relation Renaissance Reynolds Richard Payne Knight role rural scene sense shows social space spatial style sublime surface taste techniques thought Titian Townscape ugliness understanding University Press urban Uvedale Price viewpoint Villa visual experience Walter Benjamin William Gilpin Wolfe Wolfflin writes