The Natural World

David Brown

in God and Enchantment of Place

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780199271986
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602801 | DOI:
The Natural World

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Here landscape art is used as a way of exploring the implications of the fact that all experience of the divine through the natural world is conditioned. Seven types of approach across the centuries are distinguished and the degree of their conditioning assessed: ‘Sacramental Placing’ looks at Aboriginal dream painting; ‘Symbolic Reminder’ at the use of animals as pointers to the divine; ‘Cosmic Order’ at artists such as Poussin; ‘Transcendent Awe’ in Friedrich and Cole; ‘Mystic Immanence’ in Rubens, Palmer, and Constable; ‘Vibrant Colour’ in van Gogh and Cézanne; and ‘Deep Form’ in Mondrian, Kandinsky and Klee. Throughout, it is maintained that the visual can constitute an argument for the nature of the divine no less forceful than one expressed in words. To that end, the last three artists are used to illustrate how each wrestled with the problem of evil and came up with alternative ‘solutions.’

Keywords: nature; landscape painting; problem of evil; symbolism

Chapter.  30155 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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