Sunday, October 01, 2006

Landscape with Satyr Family

The catalogue to the current Adam Elsheimer exhibition is published by Paul Holberton. Holberton himself knows a lot about early landscape painting and it would be good if he could publish a book based on his own PhD researches in this subject. One of the many interesting things in his thesis is a classification of images according to the characteristics of the figures in the landscape, arguing that a typology based on format or place would be less practicable. So for example Albrecht Altdorfer's Landscape with Satyr Family (1509) would come under the heading of landscapes featuring satyrs and centaurs. Other possibilities are landscapes featuring: hermits and anchorites; lovers at odds with society; vagrants or the homeless (including Biblical examples like Adam and Eve after the expulsion); woodsmen or woodhouses; 'natives' on the borders of the known world (e.g. Scythians or New World Indians); and primitives before the rise of civilisation. These varoius characters might all be termed 'landscape beings.'

Albrecht Altdorfer, Landscape with Satyr Family, 1509
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Promisingly, it says on his website, 'Paul Holberton is currrently writing a book on the history of Arcadia in art and literature (working title: Sex in the Bushes).'

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