What is landscape? How does it differ from 'land'? Does landscape always imply something to be pictured, a scene? When and why did we begin to cherish images of nature? What is 'nature'? Is it everything that isn't art, or artefact?
This book explores many fascinating issues raised by the great range of ideas and images of the natural world in Western art since the Renaissance. Using a thematic structure many issues are examined, for instance: landscape as a cultural construct; the relationship between landscape as accessory or backdrop and landscape as the chief subject; landscape as constituted by various practices of framing; the sublime and ideas of indeterminacy; landscape art as picturesque or as exploration of living processes. These issues are raised and explored in connection with Western cultural movements, and within a full international and historical context. Many forms of landscape art are included: painting, gardening, panorama, poetry, photography, and art. The book is designed to both take stock of recent interdisciplinary debates and act as a stimulus to rethinking our assumptions about landscape.