February 16, 2004

Mandy Martin & Romantic sublime

New worlds from old. It's one way to read the landscape. It involves looking to the aesthetics of the Old World to visually define the New--just like Conrad Martens and W.C. Piguenit:
W.C. Piquenit, Mount King William from Lake George, Tasmania, 1887

Mandy Martin The Pyramids, Salvator Rosa Series IV, 2002

This text on Martin refers to the category of the “romantic sublime”. This means the moment of inspiration when someone sees beauty in what may have seemed a hostile landscape. Often that is found in the vortex of clouds?

In aesthetic theory the sublime is contrasted with the picturesque (the small-scaled, elegantly balanced, and pleasingly irregular) and the beautiful (that which pleases through absolute harmony of proportion). The sublime was usually associated with limitlessness and grandeur, even terror, and with overpowering awe. Edmund Burke called the sublime "productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling."

In this tradition the Australian landscape dramatically embodied the sublime.It can be contrasted with the imperial gaze of the colonial settlers: an objective representation characterized by the singularity of viewpoint or trig point or compass reading and the formal geometries of perspective and cartography. From this 'imperial gaze' comes the apparatus of occupation: the survey, the map, the leasehold and the fenceline.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at February 16, 2004 05:27 PM | TrackBack

excellet definition of the sublime, v. useful.
English Literature student,

Posted by: on April 29, 2004 10:09 PM
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