Interpretations of Landscape
G634 Haven
TTh 2:30-4:00pm
3 Credit Lecture

This course singles out the evolution of the taste for landscape painting as a special topic in the history of art, with special emphasis on the landscape painting of China. In the course of surveying the evolution of landscape in China, the class will bear in mind several key questions, including: Under what sorts of conditions does landscape arise as a genre? Why does landscape appear late in history relative to figure painting? What kinds of issues have been addressed through the landscape genre? What sorts of social groups have supported the landscape genre and what sorts of values can be encoded, debated, or negotiated through the forms of landscape? In order to consider these questions in historical context the class will review, among other things, the relationship between landscape painting and land ownership, the impact of gardening practices on the taste for landscape and the development of critical conventions for theorizing about landscape painting. Although the course concentrates on traditions of landscape painting in China, we shall read and discuss secondary sources on English and American landscape so as to provide a basis for comparative discussion. In addition the course will culminate with a reconsideration of the European encounter with Chinese garden traditions between the 17th and early 19th centuries in England and France. Students will produce an annotated bibliography by writing short comments on each of the readings. In addition there will be a midterm quiz, and a short paper on a landscape painting in local museum collections. C.3.