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Interpreting Planetary Landscapes in Visual Art

Wednesday, April 7, 2004
Poss (Humanities Program and Astronomy Dept., University of Arizona)

This presentation explores the contention that there is a continuous tradition of landscape painting which extends from Western Europe through America and into the Solar System. Characteristics of landscape painting from recent centuries have been taken up by space painters to make the Lunar, Martian, and other landscapes express qualities which take them into territories far beyond the realm of "accuracy," "illustration," or "representation." Applying the hermeneutics of art historical criticism to the field of space art shows the ways in which we are investing meanings into the landscapes of planets which have yet to be settled. When settlement occurs, we will carry to the planets the mental landscapes we have already constructed here on Earth through the visual arts.

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