Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Visual Arts


Hatch, John


Relatively few critical studies have been written concerning the English landscape genre in the seventeenth century, not due to a lack of production or interest in the genre, but rather as a result of an anachronistic definition that is the product of eighteenth century artistic discourse. In contrast, I explore landscape as it was defined in contemporaneous seventeenth-century works and literature. Rather than a singular definition, I propose that the genre in the seventeenth century was marked by multiple iterations, each of which corresponded to shifting perceptions concerning the role of land in the culture, economy and politics of England. As such, the iterations explored herein range from the highly symbolic to the topographic, the ideal and combinations of the three, each representing different aspects of the discursive relationship to the English land over the century. Much like the English language, the landscapes of this period incorporated not only native traditions and values but also translated established variations of the genre from Northern and Southern European artistic discourses into the English context. Given the iterability of the genre, I explore landscape within a pre-determined set of limits: temporal (late sixteenth to late seventeenth century), geographic (England), thematic (symbolic, topographic, ideal and estate landscapes) and formal (painting, drawing and printmaking). Unlike other explorations of the English landscape that apply strict, often anachronistic definitions of the genre, I explore landscape from a broad perspective, one that not only seeks out the aesthetic frameworks that shaped it, but the economic, social and political discourses that gave the genre significance in the period.

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