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This book presents a new and comprehensive theory concerning the manner in which landscapes in Western pictorial art may be interpreted in relation to the cultures that created them. Its point of departure is a hitherto unexplored developmental pattern that characterises landscape representation from Palaeolithic cave paintings through to 19th-century modernity. A structuralist comparison between this pattern and three additional fields of analysis - self-consciousness, socially-determined perception of nature, and world picture - reveals a fascinating insight into culture's macrohistorical organisation. Controversially, this book argues that culture at a certain level of observation is marked by directional evolution.