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Prospect, Perspective and the Evolution of the Landscape IdeaAuthor(s): Denis CosgroveReviewed work(s):Source: Transaction...
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1985 cosgrove, d.  perspective and the evolution of the landscape idea
1985 cosgrove, d.  perspective and the evolution of the landscape idea
1985 cosgrove, d.  perspective and the evolution of the landscape idea
1985 cosgrove, d.  perspective and the evolution of the landscape idea
1985 cosgrove, d.  perspective and the evolution of the landscape idea
1985 cosgrove, d.  perspective and the evolution of the landscape idea
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1985 cosgrove, d. perspective and the evolution of the landscape idea


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1985 cosgrove, d. perspective and the evolution of the landscape idea

  1. 1. Prospect, Perspective and the Evolution of the Landscape IdeaAuthor(s): Denis CosgroveReviewed work(s):Source: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 10, No. 1 (1985),pp. 45-62Published by: Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of BritishGeographers)Stable URL: .Accessed: 02/09/2012 14:19Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Wiley-Blackwell and The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.
  2. 2. 45Prospect, and evolution perspective the ofthe idea landscapeDENIS COSGROVE Lecturer Geography,Senior in Loughborough Loughborough, LE113 TU University, Leic.Revised received May 1984 MS 24ABSTRACTThelandscape concept geography recently adopted humanistic in has been by writers because itsholistic subjec- of andtive But history the implications. the of landscape suggests itsorigins inthe idea that lie renaissancehumanists for search rather acertainty than vehicle individual of Landscape a wayofseeing wasbourgeois, subjectivity. was that individual- ofistandrelated theexercise power to overspace. Thebasictheory technique thelandscape ofseeing and of way waslinear for history the perspective,important the as of graphic image printing for ofthe as was that written word. Albertisperspective thefoundationrealism art was of in until nineteenth the century, is closely and related him social by to classandspatial Itemploys same hierarchy. the as geometry merchant and trading accounting, land navigation, survey, map- andping artillery. Perspectivefirst is applied the andthen a country in city to subjugated urban to control viewed and aslandscape. evolution landscape The of paintingparallels ofgeometry as itdoesthechanging that just socialrelationsonthelandinTudor, and Stuart Georgian England. visual The power given thelandscape ofseeing by way complementsthe power real humans exert land property. over as Landscape a geographical as concept cannot free the be of ideologicaloverlays itshistory a visual of as conceptunless subjects it landscape historical to interrogation. as anunexamined Only inconcept a geography which neglects ownvisual its foundations landscape appropriated an antiscientific can be forhumanistic geography.KEY WORDS: Landscape,Geometry, Perspective, Humanism, Prospect, Ideology, image,Cartography, Graphic Chorography, Seeing,Painting, Survey, Morphology, Space.Geographical interest the landscapeconcepthas in geographical environment, aspects whichseen a revival recent in years.In largemeasure is this geographical scienceis claimedto have devaluedata consequence of the humanist renaissance in best and at worst,ignored.Marwyn Samuels,forgeography. Havingenjoyeda degreeofprominence example,3 refers to landscapes as authored,in the interwar years,landscapefellfrom favourin CourticeRose thinking along similarlines wouldthe 1950s and 1960s. Its reference the visible to analyse landscapes as texts,4and Edward Relphforms a delimited of area to be subjectedto mor- regardslandscapeas anything see and sensewhen Iphologicalstudy in (a usage stillcurrent theGerman I am out of doors-landscape is thenecessary con-landscapeindicators school) appeared subjective textand background bothof mydailyaffairs ofandand too imprecisefor Anglo-Saxon geographers themoreexoticcircumstances mylife.5 of Americandevelopinga spatialscience.The static, descriptive humanist geographers have adopted landscapeformorphologyof landscape ill-suitedtheir call for theveryreasonsthattheir predecessorsrejected It it.dynamic functionalregions to be defined and appears to point towardsthe experiential, creative byinvestigated geographers contributing econ- to and humanaspects of our environmental relations,omicand socialplanning.2 ratherthan to the objectified, manipulatedand Recently, and primarilyin North America, mechanical aspectsof thoserelations. is the latter Itgeographers have sought to reformulate landscape againstwhichhumanism a protest, is whichRelphas a concept whose subjective and artistic tracesto the seventeenth centuryscientificrevol-resonances to be actively are embraced. They allow utionand itsCartesian of division subject and object.forthe incorporation individual, of imaginative and Landscape seems to embody the holism whichcreative human experience into studies of the modern humanists proclaim. N.S. 10: 45-62 (1985) ISSN: 0020-2750 Inst.Br.Geogr.Trans. Printed GreatBritain in
  3. 3. 46 DENIS COSGROVE a In Britain revivalof landscapeis also apparent. dominationover space as an absolute, objectiveHere the humanist critique geographyhas been entity,its transformation in into the propertyofless vocal. Recent landscape study has remained individualor state. And landscape achieved thesecloserto popularusage of theword as an artistic or ends by use of the same techniques thepractical asliteraryresponse to the visible scene.6 Among sciences, by principally applying Euclidian geometryBritish geographers interest in landscape was as the guarantor certainty spatialconception, of instimulated by partly perception studies, and In particularly organization representation. thecase of land-the short-lived excitement over landscape evalu- scape the techniquewas optical,linearperspective,ation forplanningpurposeswhichsurrounded the but the principlesto be learned were identical1973 reformof local government.7 This led to to those of architecture, survey,map-making andvariousmechanistic theories landscapeaesthetics artillery of science.The same handbookstaughtthewhich, like Jay Appletons ethologically-foundedpractitioners ofthesearts.1 alland influential habitattheoryof landscape,8had Landscape, thepractical like sciencesof theItalianlittlein commonwiththe humanism proclaimed in Renaissance, founded was upon scientific theory andNorthAmerican studies. knowledge. Its subsequent history can best be Epistemological divergence notwithstanding,understoodin conjunction with the history sci- oflandscapeis again a focusof geographical interest. ence.Yet in itscontemporary humanist guise withinWiththatinterest come a refreshing has willingness geography, landscapeis deployedwithin radically a tobygeographers employlandscaperepresentations anti-scientific programme. Significantly that pro--in painting,imaginativeliterature and garden gramme equallynon-visual. is Recentprogrammaticdesign-as sources for answering geographical statements geographical of humanism (and critiquesquestions.9 The purposeof thispaper is to support of it) in the pages of these Transactions notable areand promote that initiative while simultaneously for their concentration verbal, on and literary linguis-enteringcertaincaveats about adopting the land- tic modes of communication for theiralmnost andscape idea without subjecting historical complete neglect of the visual and its place in it to criticalexaminationas a term which embodies certain geography.12 The attack scienceis characteristic onassumptions about relationsbetween humansand of much contemporary humanist writing. But thetheir environment, morespecifically, or society and apparent ofinterest thegraphic lack in imageis morespace. These caveats go beyond landscapeas such surprising. Considerthe traditions our discipline, ofand touch upon aspects of the whole humanist its alignment with cartography and the long-heldendeavour within geography. belief thattheresults geographical of scholarship are Landscape firstemerged as a term,an idea, or bestembodiedin themap.Considertoo thehuman- abetterstill, way ofseeingiothe external world,in istsproclaimed in interest images place and land- ofthe fifteenth early sixteenth and centuries. was, scape, and yet their remarkable It neglect of theand it remains, visualterm, thatarose initially visual.13 Indeed the clearest statementof the a oneout of renaissance humanism its particular and of in con- centrality sight geography thatI knowis foundcepts and constructs space. Equally,landscape in William Bunges TheoreticalGeography,a ofwas, overmuchofitshistory, for closelyboundup with manifesto spatialscience:geography the one isthe practicalappropriation of space.As we shallsee, predictivescience whose inner logic is literallyits connections were withthe surveyand mapping visible.4 Bunges book may be closer in spirit toof newly-acquired, consolidated and improved the original humanist of authors thelandscapeideacommercialestates in the hands of an urban than his contemporary humanist critics.The bookbourgeoisie;with the calculationof distance and after is a celebration thecertainty geometry all of of fortrajectory cannonfire and of defensive fortifica- as theconstructional of principle space.tions against the new weaponry; and with the In fact,the humanist attackon science and itsprojectionof the globe and its regionsonto map neglectof the visual image in geographyare notgraticulesby cosmographers and chorographers, unconnected. They both resultin some measurethose essential set designers for Europes entry from lack of critical the on reflection the Europeancentre-stage of the worldstheatre. painting In and humanist tradition, from conflation thespatial the ofgarden design landscape achieved visually and theme geography in witha positivist epistemology,ideologicallywhat survey,map makingand ord- and froma mystification art and literature. of Allnance charting achievedpractically: control the and threeof these aspects will be illustrated a brief in
  4. 4. Evolutionthe of landscapeidea 47exploration thelandscapeidea as a way of seeing Gutenberg invention of movable type in the ofin the Europeanvisual tradition, emphasizing that 1440s.16In thequadrivium, alwaysmoretheoretical,traditions most enduring convention space rep- the criticaladvance came fromthe re-evaluation ofresentation, linearperspective. thisexploration of Euclid and the elevation of geometryto the In Ishall justify and elaboratethe claim thatthe land- keystone of human knowledge, specificallyitsscape idea is a visual ideology;an ideology all too application to three-dimensional space represen-easily adopted unknowingly into geographywhen tationthrough single-pointperspective theoryandthe landscapeidea is transferred an unexamined technique. Perspective, the medieval study of asconceptintoourdiscipline. optics, was one of the mathematical arts,studied since the twelfth-century revival of learning,GEOMETRY, PERSPECTIVE AND as evidencedfor example in Roger Bacons work.RENAISSANCE HUMANISM Painterslike Cimabue and Giotto had constructedTraditionally the seven liberal arts of medieval theirpicturesin new ways to achieve a greaterscholarship weregroupedintotwo sets.The trivium realism(il vero)than theirpredecessors.7But thewas composed of grammar, rhetoric and logic; the theoretical practical and development a coherent of ofquadrivium arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and linear perspective awaited the fifteenth-centurymusic.While in its narrowest definition humanism Tuscan Renaissance.That movement,despite itsreferred studies in the trivium(the recovery, emphasison classicaltexts,grammar to and rhetoric,securedatingand translation texts),manyearly revolutionized of in spatial apprehensions the west.renaissance humanists wereequallyfascinated the For the plastic and visual arts:painting, by sculpturematerial thequadrivium, of seeking unity know- and architecture, forgeography a of and and cosmology,ledge acrossall thearts.15 The fifteenth century saw all concerned with space and spatial relations,revolutionary advances in both sets of studies, it was fromthe quadrivium, fromgeometryandadvanceswhichaltered theirorganization, socialsig- number theory, that form and structurewerenificance rolein theproduction communica- determined-eveniftheir and and content was providedbytionofhuman knowledge theworldand ourplace thetrivium. ofwithin In the arenaof words,languageand writ- it. In 1435 the Florentine humanistand architectten expressionthe most striking advance was the Leon Battista Alberti published Della Pittura his (On --- Median rays Extrinsic rays Centric rayFIGURE 1. The visual triangle describedby Alberti(fromSamuel Y. EdgertonJr, as The Renaissance rediscovery linear of perspective,Harperand Row, London,1975, reproducedwithpermission)
  5. 5. 48 DENISCOSGROVE apainting),8 workwhose authority artistic in the- appreciated (Fig 2). We need not concernourselvesory enduredbeyond the eighteenth century when herewiththe detailsand accuracy Albertis of con-Sir JoshuaReynolds,first president of the Royal struction (exceptperhaps to note the definition ofAcademy,used it as the foundation his lectures pyramid, for lifted directly from Euclid).Butwe shouldon pictorial composition, beautyand the hierarchy observecertain consequences thatflowfrom First, it.of genres.In Della Pittura Albertidemonstrates form a and positionin space are shownto be relativetechnique whichhe had workedout experimentallyrather thanabsolute.The forms whatwe see, of offorconstructing visualtriangle a whichallowed the objects in space and of geometrical figures them-painter determine shapeand measurement a selves,vary withthe angle and distanceof vision. to the ofgriddedsquareplaced on the groundwhen viewed They are producedby the sovereigneye, a singlealong the horizontal axis, and to reproduce pic- eye, for this is not a theoryof binocularvision. intorial formits appearance to the eye. The con- Secondly,Alberti regards raysof visionas hav- thestruzioneleggitimagave the realist illusion of ing origin in the eye itself, thus confirming itsthree-dimensional space on a two-dimensional sur- sovereigntyat the centre of the visual world.face.This construction, foundation linear the of per- Thirdly,he creates a technique which becamespective, dependedupon conceptsof the vanishing fundamental the realistrepresentation space to ofpoint, distancepointand intersecting plane. Alberti and theexternal world.The artist, through perspec-describes as a triangle raysextending it of outwards tive, establishesthe arrangement composition, orfrom eye and striking objectof vision.There and thusthe specific the the time,of the eventsdescribed,are threekindsofray(Fig I). determines-inboth senses-the pointof view to be taken theobserver, controls by and through fram- Theextrinsic thus rays, circling plane-one touch- ing the scope of reality the revealed.Perspective tech- ing the other, encloseall the planelikethe willow nique was so effective thatthe realistconventions wands of a basketcage, and make the visual which it underlaywere not ... chal- fundamentally time meto describe thepyramid lengeduntil nineteenth It for what the century.20 is and how it is constructed theserays... The by Realistrepresentation three-dimensional of space pyramid a figure a bodyfrom is of whose baselines are drawn upward, terminating at a single point. Thebase on a two-dimensional surfacethroughlinearper- is ofthepyramid theplane which seen.Thesidesof spective directs the externalworld towards the is are thepyramid therays I which havecalled extrinsic.individual locatedoutsidethat space.It givestheeye Thecuspid, is thepoint thepyramid,located absolutemastery that of is over space. The centric moves ray within eyewhere angle the the the of quantity is.19 in a direct line from eye to thevanishing the point, to the depth of the recessionalplane. Space is The visual pyramid here described familiar is to measured and calculated from thisline and the restevery geographerwho reads Area, although its of what is seen constructed around the vanishinggeographicalsignificance may not always be fully point and withinthe frame fixedby external rays. Ii ii Observation FIGURE 2. A seventeenth-century ofseeing(familiar readersofArea) way to
  6. 6. Evolutionthe idea of landscape 49 ... .. .. ... .......... ..... ...... ............... ~ ................ ~ ...... .... -- .... .:?? w~~?:;?~? ~1. .. ............. 3. FIGURE Ambrogio in detail GoodGovernmenttheCity Lorenzetti: PalazzoPubblico, from Siena(ditta B6hm) O.Visually space is renderedthe propertyof the Peterthe Keys to the Kingdom Heaven (Fig 4) ofindividualdetached observer,fromwhose divine painted thewall oftheSistine on Chapelin 1481,thelocation it is a dependent, appropriated object. A significance perspective clear.Lorenzetti of is showssimplemovement the head, closingthe eyes or us thecityas an activebustling of worldof humanlifeturning away and the composition and spatialform wherein people and their environment interactof objects are alteredor even negated. Develop- across a space whereunityderivesfrom action thementsfromthe fifteenth century may have altered on itssurface.the assumedpositionof the observer, used per- or ratherthan synthetically as urban Thesepre-perspective landscapes shownot sospective analytically much what towns the looked as what felt to like it likeAlberti and his contemporaries intended,21 this but be inthem. getan impression thetowns as We of notvisual appropriation space endured unaltered. of observer a they might havelooked a detached to fromSignificantly, adoption of linearperspective the as have a fixedvantage point as they but might impressed oftheguarantor pictorial realism was contemporary pedestrianwalking thestreets seeing build- up and thewiththose otherrealist of techniques painting: oils, ingsfrom many differentsides.23framing production a market mobile, and for of smallcanvases. In this respect perspective may be By contrast, Peruginosideal city a formal, inregarded as one of a numberof techniques which monumentalorder is organized throughpreciseallowed forthevisualrepresentation a bourgeois, geometry, of constructed the eye aroundthe axis byrationalistconception theworld. of whichleads across the chequerboard piazza to the The term bourgeois is appropriate, linearper- circular for temple at its centre. The piazza,geometricalspectivewas an urbaninvention, employedinitially centre thiscity, of becomesin thisgenresymbolic ofto represent the spaces of the city. It was first the whole city.24 The hillsand treesbeyondreflectdemonstrated practically Albertis by close associate, thesameregimented orderas theurbanarchitecture.Filippo Brunelleschi, a famous in experiment of 1425 The people of the city,or rather within forthey it,whenhe succeededin throwing imageoftheBap- reveal no particular an to attachment it, group them- attistery Florence onto a canvas set up in the great selves in dignified theatrical and poses. In the idealportal of the cathedral.22 we compareAmbrogio townscapes of the late fifteenth-century If UmbrianLorenzettis well-known frescoes thePalazzo Pub- school of Piero della Francesca humans scarcely inblico at Siena (Fig 3) whichrepresent good govern- appear. They have no need to forthe measureofmentin the city,paintedin the 1340s, withPeitro man,so neatly in captured Leonardoda VincisManPeruginos representation of Christgiving to St ina Circle a Square, written and is intothemeasured
  7. 7. 50 DENIS COSGROVE ?~:~?:i?~;~?~?~?~?:?~~??: x~i:~rQ M~:?i:aww~j:: ldiiiil::iilili.~g:l:t:l:lll: :::::::::::::::::::::~":~:::::::::i::::::::::::: 1:::1:::::?::1:1:1:1:i::::::-:l::l:l:l .. Illlilliililil:liiIli:::::il:::l:i:i:l ~:gi :~i?:-:::?:?:??l?:-::::::i:I:i:::::j::: :?~:n:~?~~sse5988sr~~?~:~jsnaassess~answ i~:~pp~88BB~BSB~jeB8888~a~::::::i?~8 ,..,. ii~CO.iiiiiiijiiijhiiiiiiii?i.i.i:i: ?: I~iBLli~iiiB lil:l:liii~:~8SIBBi4!Qi ?~~~i~88JBl~ea~H~!ii~igli~ :i:i -:::::::::-r II ~::::::::- I:i ~p~g~ggg~g~::::-:~:::-:l-llilcil~Bk~:i:- :i :: a:IO j;:::: :. Piiiiliiiliiiiililiiliiili :~l~ss~R9n-as;~srss6s~ak::: iii ~::::r PIPi:i i~B~::~:i.i~:l~jj~~~:.~~f~""~"~""~"""""" ::: li-i~ ii: ::: ini:l ~:----;::i:i-1-1:::1:1:::::-::1:1:::1-: ::1: ~i~..~...::i~~.ili~/j~l;:l( Sj , : L-i B ::,::::: j::::: ::::::::;e iiiiii-~iiiiiiiiiii~;iii~ ?? B;~a! i-i " ~Zil :::-z ?: ::::::~ II: i~ia~~l - :-1 r:i :1 iiia :iliiliiiiiiiliiiii~,l~B~B~:?:~~~8~3~81 _i:i:i: ~ii~i :::::: ~~i?ji~I~j~~ li?8BS88~8eB~aBBB~~I;:~~:X:jir~d~Bs~B~~ _-_-~;L~i?~j~31~;i18~.::-:~S~Bs~BH~sE~81 ~~_~~~__$BagarPnsa~or~Bl~s~8ssaaaaa~.~a: ~:::::i r~~silillii iii iiiiiiiii~iL~:iij~~i~-I -ili-~~ll~j~ir~~-i :!- :Pi---?:::~3~;~~iiij~7~e~61~8~~ g:~S~Ss~~ . .-isay 8?:---:-:-:I::: I~i .-: j~f88li~?i8~i~Bsa~ase~s~an~gi :.~8~?~:-:::::-:~:~: i~iiiiiil ii-i:iii??i~.~i"iiia4 Il~iBid ~ ili:i~:::-::: :: u~?:?:: :::::::::::::: ~~:::~~_: :I:--r-:-I^;~.-i?--?: -:- ----I:::.:.;~~-::_?-i.-_?_::::?~~*wl~:. ~::r::~ *:-:-:-:::::~:::~:ia,:,:,:::,~,-,- ..L...._ r~s; -::::~:S~:i:-: ::-:_:-:::~;:::i:il:::d:i::t:::::l.:l :::_~;::::i:l::~::I:::l:::-:-:_-is~is~. ::11:1::~?::-:-:-: ~ii:_-: : ?-~i.l::::--i---:~:--:-: ?jj~: Christgivingto St PetertheKeys to theKingdomofHeaven VaticanCity,SistineChapel (dittaO. B6hm)FIGURE 4. PietroPerugino:architectural facadesand proportioned spaces of the appear in printedbook form, followingonly twocity,an intellectual measure ratherthan sensuous yearsafter first the printed and geometry setting thehumanlife.25 This alertsus to thefactthatperspec- model fora collection latertexts.Paciolidevotes oftiveand itsgeometry a greater had significancethan thesecondbook of thevolumeto geometry the andmerely employment a painting its as technique. measurement distance,surfaceand volume. He of The mathematics geometry and associated with points out the value of such skillsforland surveyperspective were directly relevant the economic to and map making,.for and warfare navigation. Fromalifeof the Italianmerchant citiesof theRenaissance, text like thisItalianmerchants learnedto calculateto trading and capitalist to finance, agriculture and visually gauge by eye and usingntthevolumeof ortheland market, navigation to and warfare. Michael a barrel, churn, haystack other a a or regularshape,aBaxandall26 shownthatmerchants has attending the valuable skillin an age beforestandardsizes andabbacoor commercial school in theiryouthunder- volumesbecame thenorm. This visualgaugingwastook a curriculum whichprovidedthe key skillsof regarded a wonderful as skill.In thewordsof Silvio for inmathematics application commerce: account- Belliwriting visual survey 1573: certainly is of in iting, book-keeping, calculation interest of and rates a wondrousthingto measurewiththeeye,becauseof return, determining in proportions jointriskven- to everyone who does not know its rationaleittures.One of the most commonly used testssum- appears completely impossible.28 It has beenmarizingthe various merchant skillswas Fra Luca arguedthatthesearchforaccurate visualtechniquesPaciolis Summa di Arithmetica, Geometria, Propor- of land survey held back Italian innovationsintioneet Proportionalita (1494).27 Its author,a close for instrumentation manydecades,29 but thesignifi-friend Leonardo, of acknowledges Alberti well as as cance accorded to it indicates the importancePtolemy and Vitruvius, of courseEuclidamong and attachedto the power of vision linkedto intellecthis sources.While Piero della Francesca had himself throughgeometry, and how the principles whichwritten earlier an text,De Abbaco,Pacioliswas the underlayperspectivetheory were the everydayfirstcompletemanual of practicalmathematics to skills theurban of merchant.
  8. 8. the idea Evolution landscape of 51 in Not all land surveywas by eye. The astrolabe, creation whichGod was to be foundat thecentrequadrant and plane tablewere in use and discussed and circumference the cosmos. A regular ofin the textscited.For map makersand navigators geometryproceedingfromthe perfection the ofthese were crucialinstruments. they required circleunderlaythe structure both spiritual But of andgeometrical calculation to make their results temporal worlds.Geometry proportion and took onmeaningful. a The Italian renaissancewas a carto- therefore metaphysical one significance, thatwasgraphic as muchas an artistic event.Ptolemy whose given even greater weight withthe translating andAlmagest had always rankedas a key geometrical misdatingof the CorpusHermeticum Marsilio bysource became known too for his Cosmografia,Ficinoin 1464 and theintroduction cabalist of num-brought a Greektextto Florence thebeginning ber theory Pico della Mirandolain 1486.34 The as at byof the fifteenth century. Alberti producedan accu- circle,the golden section,the rule of threes, of allrately surveyedmap of Rome, Leonardo one of thempartand parcelof theintellectual practical andPavia. These were regardedas revelationsof the baggage of the Renaissance merchant,sailor,rationalorder of created space produced by the surveyorand chartmaker, could be relatedto theapplication of geometry. Perhaps more closely most erudite metaphysical speculation. Above all itrelatedto landscapepainting was thepiantaprospet- was the humanintellect, humanreason,thatcouldtiva,the birdseye view of citieswhichbecame so apprehend thissignificance seek the certainties andpopular at theturn thesixteenth of century. Among of geometry. And the humanbody, createdin thethebestknownof theseis Jacopode Barbaris 1500 imageand likeness God, replicated microcosm of inmap of Venice,likeso manyof its typeas muchan the divineproportions, Leonardoshumanfigure asideological expression of urban dominion as an enclosed in divine geometrymakes clear. At theaccuraterendering the urbanscene.30The view- centreof Renaissancespace, the space reproduced ofpointforthesemapsis, significantly, above the by perspective,was the human individual,the highcity,distant,commanding, uninvolved. is thesame measureof his world and its temporal It creatorandperspective in thatwe find Bruegels Titiansland- controller. or Like God, the microcosm,man, alsoscapes,panoramas over greatsweeps of earthspace, appears at the circumference Renaissancespace, ofseas,mountains promontories. and high above the globe, seeing it spread beforethe Linearperspective organizesand controls on spatial sphere of his eye in perspective the map, thecoordinates, and because it was founded in pianta prospettiva or thepanoramic landscape.geometry it was regarded as the discovery of The authority attributed man35was exercised toinherent of In properties space itself.3 this, perspec- in a hierarchy was at once spatialand social,a thattivehad a deepercultural as significance, Pollaiuolos hierarchy whichthelandscapeidea playeda signi- inbas-relief Prospettiva a nubilegoddess, sculp- ficant, subordinate of as if to role.Referring architecture,ted on thetombofSixtusIV in 1493 might suggest. the queen of the arts,Alberti discussesthe decor-One oftheearliest mostwidelyinfluential the ationsuitable different and of to buildings:Renaissance thinkers, Paduanhumanist the Nicholasof Cusa, theologian,cosmographer and mathema- Bothpaintings poetry and vary kind. typethat in Thetician,challengedthe Aristotelian scholasticworld portrays deedsof great the men, of worthy memory,view in his De Docta Ignorantia 1440 by appeal of differs that from which the of describes habits privateto theEuclidean citizens againfrom depicting lifeof the and that the geometry.32 Rejecting idea that the The in which majestic character, is shouldthere could be no empiricalknowledge of the peasants. first, men confined the temporal, to be usedforpublic buildings thedwellings the and ofspiritualsphereby whilethelastmentioned wouldbe suitable forand thusno direct great, knowledgeof God, Cusanuspro- gardens, itis themost for pleasing all.Ourminds of areclaimed the significance indirect of evidence in a cheered beyondmeasure the sightof paintings, byneoplatonic sense. He pointed out that in the the depicting delightful countryside, harbours, fishing,infinitelylarge circlethe circumference tangent and hunting, swimming, gamesof shepherds-flowers thecoincidein a straight while the infinitely line small andverdure.36circlewas a point.This is the foundation a con- oftinuousgeometry relating Euclidsseparateprop- The reference to the genres of paintingwhich all isositionsand giving formsa qualitativeas well as replicatethose of poetry:fromthe most elevated,quantitative character.33 Equally,it gave supportto storia (epic or historic events), to portraitureCusanusargument a pattern for running through all and domesticscenes,and finally least serious, the
  9. 9. 52 DENIS COSGROVElandscapes and rural scenes. Geographically, the importanceof perspectiveis in no doubt: forcentre of the city, where public buildings and Leonardo, as for Alberti,painting is a sciencemonuments adornthemainpiazza,is thesetting for because of its foundation mathematical on perspec-greatmenand shouldrecordtheir epic deeds. In the tive and on thestudy nature.42 of Leonardohimselfurbanpalaces and privatehouses of the patriciate wrotethatappear portraits and familygroups while in the farcountryside, away from and subordinate the to Amongall thestudies natural of causesand reasonspowerat theheartof thecity, peasants-beasts the lightchieflydelights beholder-andamongthe theof the villa -disport themselvesin their rude greatfeatures mathematics certainty itsdem- of the ofmanner, while gentlemen relax,followappropriate onstrationswhatpre-eminently to elevate is tends the and mind theinvestigator. of Perspective therefore must beleisurelypursuits enjoy thebeautyof nature.37In the theatre,whose auditorium preferred all thediscourses systems human to and of design, spatial learning.43arrangements and stage sets were exercises inapplied geometryand perspective construction--even cosmological theory38--this was Geometryis the source of the painterscreative hierarchy articulated the threeformsof drama. for power, perspectiveits technicalexpression.Forcarefully Leonardo,perspective transforms mindof the theTragedywas playedagainstsettings theidealcity of intothelikeness thedivinemind, with of forand its monumental romancein the painter architecture, a freehandhe can producedifferent beings,animals,palaceinterior closedgarden, comedyor farce or and abysses andin the sylvansettingof a rurallandscape.Control plants,fruits, landscapes,open fields, fearfulplaces.44Linearperspective the provides cer-and power radiatedown a socio-spatial hierarchy taintyof our reproductions naturein art and ofalong the orthogonallines reachingout fromthe underlies the power and authority, the divinepiazza of an ideal city to transectrecognizablydistinct creativity theartist. of landscapetypes. Leonardo, despitethese comments and his map- pingexperiments, is not remembered a landscape asLANDSCAPE, PERSPECTIVE AND REALIST painter,although his geographical contributionsSPACE wereby no meansmeagre.45 More interesting from this point of view is the work of the VenetianIt is knownthatthefirst artist to references specific Christoforo Sortein thelaterRenaissance. Sortewas aspaintings landscape(paesaggio) come from early a cartographer and surveyor,employed by thesixteenth-century Italy. One of the most often Venetian republicas one of the periti or landquoted is thatfrom1521 referring Giorgiones to and valuersof the Provveditori surveyors sopra iTempesta.39 Kenneth Both Clarkand J.B. Jackson,in the beni inculti, reclamation officewhichsupervised ofdiscussions landscapein thisperiod,sense a rela- marshland drainageand drylandirrigation the intionshipbetween the new genre and notions of secondhalf thesixteenth of century. was a skilled Heauthority and control.Noting the appearance of cartographer whose maps are regardedas beingrealistlandscapein upper Italy and Flanders, thesecond mercantile core of early modern Europe, amongthefinest records theVenetian of stateat this time(Fig 5).46 Sorte was also a landscapepainterClark claims thatit reflected some change in the who has leftus a remarkable treatise his art47 in onaction of the humanmindwhichdemandeda new theform a reply a letter of to a from Veronesenoble,nexus of unity, enclosed space, and suggeststhat BartolomeoVitali,requesting information how onthis was conditionedby a new, scientific way of Sortehad succeededin reproducingthinking about the worldand an increased controlof nature man.40Jackson by refers a widespread to of the truegreenof the pastures, variety the thebeliefthatthe relationship betweena social group of flowers, range green the of plants, density the theand its landscapecould be so expertly controlled as the of of forests, transparencywater...thedistancesto make appropriate a comparison between perspectives.48environmental bonds and family bonds,41 therebyallowing landscape to become a means of moral The work that Vitali refers is sadly unknown. tocommentary. Perspectivewas the central technique But fromtextual evidence it is clearly part-mapwhich allowedthiscontrol be achievedin thenew to drawing: chorography plan and part-landscape a inpaintings landscape.In Leonardoswritings of the perspectiveof the province of Verona, carefully
  10. 10. .......... "Al _ ::i ,: IVS4:i--- A-:r* :::~_:~ *;i:: il-.;;. ii~i A?IFiii ?iii~i~~-?i--i ~iiic ii:--;-:?:ii:Ao?: :j: -il-`::7 :: -il?:: Ai: 74:i. J*. ov ~ii -i:i lii-i ::;i:- ~ Mt^-~i~ :ii:---:::i:-: -, ,, ::i: ~s:~af ~ ::::: ;:::UU ~: 4 - n:::-::j::i:I-- x-:% ::" V A $.:-: AdiL-- -ia$i:Yi0 i-:--: 4 : i-:::I, -:-?"-i-ii~i i: i---i-~_i il _,-i: ......... Sorte:Map of Venetianboundaries Cadore (Venice,Archiviodi Stato,Provv. Cameradei ConfinFIGURE 5. Christoforo at
  11. 11. 54 DENISCOSGROVEcolouredand considered workof art.Sorte,in his dimensions, rather a but exhilarated thepotencyof byreply, modestly refers himself merely practi- extension depth, controlled, to as a in a axial entryintothecal man (un puroprattico) rather thana philosopher pictureplane achieved by linearperspective. Thisor an artist. is a chorographer. his chorogra- is the achievement all the great landscapists, He But otphy is securelybased in science.From Ptolemys of Bruegels and Titians cosmic panoramas,ofCosmographia has learnedhow to organizehis Giovanni Bellinis carefullylocated figuresand hemapaccording thefour to cardinal points, he has modulatedbands of light and shade, of Claudes andlocatedthesaid chorography withits truerelations stage-likewings, coulisses and recessionalplanesand distances themap.49Once thesegeometrical along theaxis,and ofJ.M. W. Turner-himself on Pro- areessentials completed can discussthecolouring fessorof Perspective the Royal Academy-who he atof the map. Colours are used partlyto avoid too once claimedthatwithout aid ofperspective, the allmanywords,partlyto producea representation arttotters itsveryfoundations.52 of onreality. Thus different shades of greenallows us to Perspective thenis critical landscapepainting, torecognize fertile infertile and landsand forests. The and itis significant,beyondthescope of thispaper ifcarefuland observantuse of colour helps us to to explore in detail,how close are the historicalcreatetheimageof a landscape(paese)on canvas in parallels betweenthegreatadvancesin perspectivegouache and accordingto perspective. Indeed the geometry and innovations landscapeart.Alberti intextends witha discourse perspective, which wrotehis treatise the timeof Van Eyckand the on of atSorte describes two methods, one theoretical earliest Italianlandscapists; Pelerin,who refined thefoundedin distanceand angle measurement a distancepoint construction 1505 was the con- and insecond,morepractical, whichhe employsa mir- temporary Leonardoand Giorgione; for of Vignolawhorormarked witha graticule. Sorteperspective showed in 1535 thatPelerin For is and Albertis construc-the foundation painting of without whichnothing tionproducedthesame geometrical resultswroteatcan be paintedof any value.And thisskillof paint- the timeof Titiansand Bruegels maturity was anding is itselffundamental theworkofthechorogra- published theproductive to in years ofPaolo Veronesepher:niunapotra esser corografo, non sappia and JacopoBassano. The great advances of Pascal che odisegnare dipingere.50 and Desarguesin the 1630s in establishing con-the The relationship between perspective and land- vergence parallel of linesand showingtheir apparentscape could scarcelybe more clear than in Sortes visualconvergence be a necessary to consequence oftextwherethe practical surveyor and topographer point, and surface line definitions devoid ofEuclidianoffers of theearliest one treatises theartofpaint- metrical assumptions,coincide with the Dutch oning landscape. The early twentieth-century supremacy optics and its great school of land- art inhistorian Bernard Berenson agreedwithSorte.Space scape. Geometrical continuity and new transform-composition wrote,is the bone and marrow he of ational rules between geometrical forms aretheartof landscape. Referring theearlyUmbrian propoundedin a treatise Ponceletwritten the to by atlandscapists PietroPeruginoand Raphael,Berenson same timethat Constable and Turner wereexploringclaimedtheir triumph less in thesubtle lay modelling light and atmospherein landscape in ways thatof atmosphereand elaborate study of light and implicitly challengedthe dominanceof linearper-shade such as we findin the Venetiansthanin the spectiveforspace composition. Finally von Staudin oftechnique space composition. Although Berenson the 1840s eliminated metrical ideas from perspectivespeaksofthisability composespaceas a structure geometry, revealing the possibility of a toof feeling rather thana specific technique based on non-Euclidian space and n-dimensional construc-sophisticated geometrical theory, is wellawareof tions.His workwas completed F. Kleinin 1875 a he bythatsense of powerand control over space thatthe little before modernists eliminated perspective fromspectator derivesfrom perspective the organization space composition and at the same timeas the firstoflandscapepainting: patentswere taken out for modernphotographic in such pictures, freely breathes-as a load printing how one if techniques.53 hadjustbeenlifted from onesbreast, how refreshed, hownoble, potent feels.51 how one LANDSCAPE, PROSPECT AND VISUAL IDEOLOGYNo longeris thespectator onlyby surface While it is not suggestedthat perspective delighted standspatternand the arrangement formsacross two alone as thebasis forrealism landscapepainting of and
  12. 12. Evolutionthe of landscapeidea 55-the demandforii veroin Renaissanceart was a The Italianword forperspective prospettiva. is Itcomplex social and cultural product54-it is argued combinessenses whichin modem Englishare dis-that the realistillusionof space which was revol- tinct:perspective and prospect. Perspective itselfutionized moreby perspective thanany othertech- has a number meanings English, as thepro- of in butnique was, throughperspective,aligned to the jectionofa spatialimageonto a planeitfirst appears ofphysicalappropriation space as property, ter- in the laterdecades of the sixteenth or century. Thisritory. Surveyors charts which located and usage is foundforexamplein John Dees Preface tomeasured individual estates, examplein England thefirst for English translation Euclid of (1570). Dee, theafterthe dissolution monasteries; of cartographers Elizabethan mathematician, navigational instrumentmaps whichused the graticule apportionglobal maker to and magician, linksthisuse of perspective tospace, for example the line defined by Pope painting a classically in renaissance way:Alexander VI dividing the new world betweenPortugaland Spain; engineers plans forfortresses greatskill Geometrie, of Arithmetik, Perspective andand cannon trajectoriesto conquer or defend with Anthropographie many otherparticular hath artsnationalterritory, forexampleVaubans French as the Zographer need of for his perfection... Thiswork or Sortes for the Venetiandefencesagainst mechanical Zographer (commonly called Painter) the is all marvelous his skil, in and seemeth have a divine toAustria; of theseare examplesof the applicationof geometry the production real property.55 power. 58 to ofThey presuppose a different concept of spaceownership thanthe contingent conceptof a feudal Dee is writing theopeningofa decade whichwill atsocietywhereland is lockedintoa web of interde- see Saxtonscounty mapspublished whena new andpendent lordships based on fief fealty. and The new image of the country was being producedas anchorographies which decorated the walls of six- aspect of Elizabethanpatriotism, using maps andteenth-century councilhallsand signorial palaces,56 landscape representations instruments Tudor as ofand the new taste for accuraterenderings the powerand nationalist of ideology.59externalworld whichgradually moved fromback- By 1605 we can find reference perspective a to asground to mainsubjectmatter, werebothorganized form insight, pointofview,as in thephraseget- of aby perspective geometry and achieve aesthetically tingsomething into perspective, seeing it in its orwhat maps, surveysand ordnancechartsachieve true light, correct its relationship withotherthings.practically. Landscapeis thusa way ofseeing, com- Many of the earlyreferences a quoted in the Oxfordpositionand structuring theworldso thatit may EnglishDictionary supportthe definition per- of to ofbe appropriated a detached, by individualspectator spectiveas a drawingcontrived representto trueto whom an illusionof orderand controlis offered space and distancerelations refer landscapeand to the ofthrough composition space accordingto the gardenlayout.60 The visualideologyof perspectivecertainties of geometry. That illusion very and of landscapeas ways of seeingnature, indeedafrequently a complemented very real power and trueway of seeing, certainly is current theEnglish incontrolover fields and farms the partof patrons Renaissance. on When we turn thewordprospect to weand ownersoflandscapepaintings."5 Landscape dis- find used to denotea view outward, lookingfor- it atancesus from worldin critical the a ways,defining wardin timeas well as space. By theend of the six-particular relationship with natureand those who teenthcenturyprospect carriedthe sense of anappearin nature, offers theillusion a world extensiveor commanding and us of sightor view, a view ofin whichwe may participate subjectively enter- the landscapeas affected ones position.61 by by Thising thepicture frame along theperspectival a axis.But neatlyreflects period when commandover landthisis an aesthetic entrance not an active engage- was being establishedon new commercially-runmentwitha natureor space thathas its own life. estatesby Tudor enclosers and thenew landowners inImplicit the landscape idea is a visual ideology of measured monasticproperties. That commandwhichwas extendedfrom painting our relation- was establishedwith the help of the surveyors toshipwiththerealworldwhose frame compass maliciouscraft, and the geometrywhich wrote newElizabethans admired whichGeorgianEnglish perspectives so and acrossreallandscapes.62gentlemen would onlyapproachthrough langu-the By the mid-seventeenth centuryprospecthadage oflandscapepainting theopticaldistortion or of become a substitute landscape. The command fortheirClaude Glass. thatit impliedwas as much social and politicalas
  13. 13. 56 DENISCOSGROVE li; .i:;::::~~i,:::--:::.11:-::j:::?:::::- .............. . - :.-::::::::::::~:~::-:-::;:: . 1-~::~-:::-:- :- :;~ _:::::.:_:::::::::::: IS _::::::::1! 1:-i~ KR ci:~:::-1:::-::::-lii j-::-:: i1~:-:ii:-: W,:::--lilllii: :? _-_ ?:_ :::ll::_:ii_::::i:::::.:::_ W l~ilii~ :---:--:- - :::11 :ill-::-:i- ~~-~-~: . r--::::::::::- :_: ..?::-::: :::-:::: O i~iili:~~i~..... :::::-::::-::---- l~li:-::1:-.: :::::~?~?~lllii~ii~::::::- :1I1 ::::::::::::::: = I-~::-?::::::::::: i~i~ii~iiiiiiFilll ll: jn ---:,:-::.?-::--i-lii-il~i-iil~l~ ii~l--l i~l..-:: ::-:::~:.i :---:~l~-i:~~:-.i :i~~l....... :::::;:-:::::: . :5,5!2, ;l:-: :-:- i-i~-!~ ::::i~-:l~~:~:--r-:-- ::~-:~~i:~: ~j,~ on:::::-:::-r_:-.-~ :--:?::~:::--:-. ~-- ,-:,~l::~::-::R ~lii-:~-:-lii:-: :i::::;:_i-:--::::Mr. ----::::?::j:::------_:::i:- :::- ::::-::::~_::::?::::::::::?:_~ : -l~~:-:----:-l_?--:::::_-:~- ::--::::-x-::.......... -li. i-i:~--:: .....::-- FIGURE 6. Roushamgarden,Oxfordshire. BowlingGreen:a Claudianlandscapeby WilliamKent Thespatial. Commanding views are the theme of ing a fineview. The prospect theeye was equally ofcountryhouse painting,poetry and landscaping commercial, suchwoodland in thelandscapewas anthroughout the seventeenthand eighteenthcen- economicinvestment. represented It prospecting inturies(Fig 6), and a numberof recentstudieshave wood, as thosewho scouredthelandscapein thefol-revealed the degree to which landscape was a lowingcentury seeking gold would be described.64vehicle for social and moral debate during thisperiod.63The prospectsdesignedformen like the LANDSCAPE AND THE HUMANISTDuke of Marlborough Blenheim at who had madetheirfortunes TRADITION IN GEOGRAPHY fromwar had an appropriately mili-tary character their in blocksofwoodlandsetagainst Landscapecomes into Englishlanguagegeographyshavenlawns.Thisno doubtreinforced imageof the primarily fromthe German landschaft. Much haspowerand authority, leastforthosewho wielded at been written about the factthatthe Germanwordit. The surveyskillswhich calculatedand laid out means area, withoutany particularly aestheticorthese landscapesproducedfortification plans, ord- artistic, even visual connotations.65 or My ownnance charts and campaignmaps as well as serving knowledgeof Germanusage is too meagreto con- oftherequirements theparliamentary enclosers. is It test thisclaim,but some comment warranted. is Innot surprising in hiscritique emparkment that of and HumboldtsKosmos, regardedby many as one oflandscapingOliver Goldsmithin The Deserted Vil- the two pillarsupon whichGerman geography waslage should describe the park that has replaced a erected, whole sectionis devotedto thehistory ofSweet Auburn in military metaphors:its vistas the love of landscapeand natureup to the timeof its Instrike, palaces surprise. those great English Goethe whom Humboldtgreatly reveredand wholandscape parks prospectalso signified future. the was a major visual theorist.66EnglishgeographersControl was as much temporalas spatial. Their could have takentheir landscapeconceptfrom Johnclumpsof oak and beech would not be seen in full Ruskinand discovereda usage not very differentmaturity by those who had them planted, but from Humboldts.67 More directly, in Landschaft the ofsecurity property ensuredforlaterscions of the workof Hettner and Passarge,themainsourcesforfamily theprospect inheritance command- tree on of Englishlanguage geographerslike Carl Sauer and