(Roughly) Daily

“I think of two landscapes- one outside the self, the other within”*…

 

Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder’s allegory of iconoclasm, ca.1566

Although commonplace today, the landscape as a distinct category in painting only really began to establish itself in Western art during the Renaissance, a period in which natural views began to make their way to the fore of focus, no longer merely backgrounds to human figures. Perhaps an interesting quirk of this “transition” were the images which seemed to fuse the two: anthropomorphic landscapes. These images — particularly where landscapes are given the form of human heads — appear to be somewhat of a meme…

Currier and Ives print showing a young man and a young woman looking through an opening in a wall (alternatively, a human skull)

More of the story, and more (and larger) examples, at “The Art of Hidden Faces: Anthropomorphic Landscapes.”

* Barry Lopez

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As we put a human face on Nature, we might send dramatic birthday greetings to Elaine de Kooning; she was born on this date in 1918.  While she was overshadowed in the public view by her husband, Willem de Kooning, for much of her career, she was an important and influential Abstract Expressionist and Figurative Expressionist painter in the post-World War II era, and an editor of Art News.

Her portrait of John F. Kennedy (National Portrait Gallery)

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Written by LW

March 12, 2016 at 1:01 am

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