Essay about The Rhetorical Force of Landscape Art

Essay about The Rhetorical Force of Landscape Art

Length: 1513 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Rhetorical Force of Landscape Art


Why talk about a rhetoric of images? The most obvious answer is that we
live in an image-saturated society and a relevant rhetoric must pay
attention to images, that W. J. T. Mitchell is right when he suggests
that the rhetorical turn is being displaced by the pictorial turn. Beyond
the obvious, the answers are multiple and layered. I want to suggest some
answers by looking at some old pictures: Carleton Watkins' landscape
photographs of Yosemite and William Henry Jackson's landscape photographs
and Thomas Moran's water colors and paintings of Yellowstone.

At a basic level, if rhetoric is, at the very least, about persuasion in
conventional politics, images merit a look and have for centuries. The
cases of Watkins, Jackson, and Moran are instructive. The fundamental role
of Watkins' landscape photography in the creation of Yosemite as the
world's first wilderness area "for the benefit of the people, for their
resort and recreation, to hold them inalienable for all time" (the bill
quoted in Schama, 1995: 191) is evident in the story that California
Senator John Conness, when introducing the bill to preserve Yosemite to
Congress in March of 1864, also passed Watkins' photographs around the
halls of Congress (Palmquist, 1983, pp. 19-20; Fels, 1983, p. 34). The
legislation passed and was signed into law on June 30, 1864 thereby deeding
Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Big Tree Grove to the state of California.
Watkins' role in preserving Yosemite extended well beyond the Congressional
floor. Thousands of people on the East Coast saw Watkins' photos, either
in art galleries or as reprints in their homes. His images garnered such
popular support that it led Edw...


... middle of paper ...


...r an elaborate construction
of the "original" context would sufficiently explain the rhetorical force
of these images. Exceeding any discernible intentions, the landscape art
of Watkins, Jackson, and Moran become founding documents of the
environmental movement, creating a pristine wilderness that becomes
environmentalism's sublime object.


Works Cited:

Fels, Thomas (1983) Carleton Watkins: Photographer. Williamstown, MA:

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Jackson, W. H. (1940) Time
Exposure. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Kinsey, Joni (1992) Thomas Moran and the Surveying of the American West.
Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Palmquist, Peter (1983) Carleton E. Watkins: Photographer of the
American west. Albuquerque: University Of New Mexico Press.

Schama, S. (1995) Landscape and Memory. New York: A.A. Knopf.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

A Study on the Changes and Attributes of Contemporary Landscape Paintings

- Landscape painting has been a center of Oriental style painting and has portrayed the balance of nature as Wang Yu once said, "A landscape painting is the best of painting." Landscape painting has developed its dimension by reserving the inheritance of its spirituality and philosophy ever since Chinese landscape painting introduced into Korea. After 1945, contemporary Korean landscape painting was newly born while influenced by real rendering technique, ink philosophy, Western technique, and social changes of surrounding environment....   [tags: landscape paintings, paintings, art,]

Powerful Essays
579 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on Landscape Analysis and Art Appreciation

- We recently visited three different Museums the Titanic in Pigeon Forge, TN, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN, and the Museum of Arts in Huntsville, AL. It was an opportunity to discover and experience the wonders of art through my child's eye. Each place allowed us to step back in time, create a masterpiece and admire the many different styles of art on display. On our vacation to Pigeon Forge, TN we visited the Titanic. The titanic is known as the "Ship of Dreams" a great luxury ship that sailed at noon on April 10, 1912 from Southampton, England....   [tags: Museums,Tennessee, Alabama]

Powerful Essays
1343 words (3.8 pages)

The Art of Benin Essay

- Western attitudes to African people and culture have always affected how their art was appreciated and this has also coloured the response to the art from Benin. Over time concepts of ‘Race’, defined as a distinct group with a common linage, and ‘Primitive’ which pertains to the beginning or origin, , have been inextricably linked with the perception of Africa. The confusion of the two in the minds of people at the end of the 19th centaury, and some of the 20th, caused a sense of superiority amongst the ‘White Races’ that affected every aspect of their interaction with ‘the Black’....   [tags: Art ]

Powerful Essays
1044 words (3 pages)

The Impact Of Art On Our Landscape And Homes Essay

- Throughout history, people have crafted. Evidence of this has been established by carvings found in ancient burial sites and archeological digs and paintings discovered in caves that date as far back as the caveman. Many forms of art such as famous paintings, sculptures and photography can be found in galleries and museums scattered about the globe. Art can also be found in the hand sewn quilts crafted by great-great grandmothers, mothers and aunts and the hand carved pieces of furniture adorning homes today....   [tags: Skill, Problem solving, Craft, Critical thinking]

Powerful Essays
817 words (2.3 pages)

Essay Gertrude Jekyll: An Influence Landscape Architect

- Introduction Gertrude Jekyll,a famous British landscape gardener and craftswoman that dote about thousand of articles.Jekyll is well-known for the wonderful gardens in the nineteenth century(Wallinger,2012).At that time she became one of the premier landscapers of her day.Her work are still preserved well in different cities in Britain and other countries. This essay will mainly analysis about her design works,her illustration life and her design skills from her inspirations.There are different opinions about her garden design are linked with different theories.Jekyll may be seen as playing a vital role in garden design and landscape architecture.Now she is recognized as the most influent...   [tags: British lanscape gardner and craftswoman]

Powerful Essays
1775 words (5.1 pages)

Semiotics of the Landscape Essay

- The secrets that are held within our hearts always find a way to express themselves. This is true of every individual. Our secret desires and experiences show themselves little by little through our dreams, our personalities, and even through our hobbies. This is a partial description of Sigmund Freud's theory of the unconscious mind. What secrets are being expressed in Margaret Atwood's short story which is called Death by Landscape. How are these secrets manifesting themselves through the story....   [tags: Death By Landscape, Margaret Atwoon, Freud]

Powerful Essays
1021 words (2.9 pages)

Turner and Constable- Landscape Painters Essay

- The industrial revolution in 19th century England saw one of the biggest changes in terms of social, cultural and philosophical values and in turn saw big reaction in the arts. The period brought with it advancements in materials, progression in scientific theory and change in social structure. Art and Architecture broke away from political and religious powers whom previously dictated the artistic genre, allowing artists greater freedom to express themselves. Along with this prosperity and excitement of the new industrial world came an uncertainty about changing times....   [tags: Industrial Revolution, History, Art Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1574 words (4.5 pages)

Paraskeva Clark's Wartime Art Essay

- Before World War II women were labeled as inferior and incapable compared to men in the Canadian workforce. The women’s traditional role as homemaker reflected the social norms, and values of the time. Change came during World War II when Women temporarily filled non-traditional roles in the wartime labour force and society (MacIvor 14). The entrance of women into society and out from their roles as homemakers was monumental as it was the first time women were seen as capable individuals, held paid positions, and proved they could do “man’s work”....   [tags: Art]

Powerful Essays
2191 words (6.3 pages)

Land Art Essay

- Land Art is created by combining art and nature in a complex way. Land art is also known as Earth Art or Earthworks. This art is designed directly in the physical landscapes with the help of natural substances and organic media like leaves, stones, soil, rocks, water, logs, etc. Mechanical earth moving equipment is also used by few artists. Artists show their reaction against industrialization and urbanization through the land art. Before the origin of modern land art, it has been already created by artists for last centuries....   [tags: Art]

Powerful Essays
734 words (2.1 pages)

Natural Landscape Essay

- The Industrial Revolution raised concerns about the natural landscape when broad social and economic changes also generated increasing pollution across England. Around the same time, ideas of naturalism (from French Philosophical writings) swept across Europe. They persuaded people to go back to nature’s simple ways. Enlightenment theories of Reason disseminated ideas of nature as teacher and guide. However, landscape painting in England was unimportant at that time, compared to Portraiture or History Painting (Gardner 2009, pp 793)....   [tags: Poetry, Painting]

Free Essays
859 words (2.5 pages)