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Title: The sky as mirror of the mind : exploring the role of light and weather for emotional expression in northern European landscape painting
Author: Dietrich, Sophie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 6504
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
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In northern Germany at the turn of the nineteenth century, and in late nineteenth century Scandinavia, the exploration of the margins between inner feeling and perceived natural environment coincided with an increased interest in the depiction of seasonal variations and times of day. By exploring how artists and intellectuals from the north of Europe interpreted local atmospheric conditions, this thesis enquires into the existence of a distinctively northern European trend in landscape painting where daily and seasonal variations in light and weather signal the transformation of nature into expressions of subjective feelings and cultural concepts. The timeframe spans the period from the end of the eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth century, when landscape painting achieved its greatest popularity. The work of the northern German painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) is of central interest as it was inspired by, exemplified, and fostered the development of the aesthetic trend central to this dissertation. In exploring the imaginative and conceptual frameworks which paved the way for Friedrich's Stimmungslandschaften (mood landscapes), the role light and weather played in aesthetic theories of the Sublime and the Picturesque will be discussed. Precursors from the seventeenth century Dutch and eighteenth-century Danish landscape traditions will also be considered. In the latter part of the thesis I explore a possible continuation of the trend of eclectic emotional expression through the depiction of landscapes dominated by atmospheric conditions extending beyond the Romantic period. This is done by analysing the work of the mid- and late nineteenth-century Norwegian landscape painters Peder Balke (1804-1887) and Edvard Munch (1863-1944) through the lens of the light-and-weather-based landscape aesthetics developed throughout the dissertation.
Supervisor: O'Connor, Ralph Sponsor: University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Landscape painting ; Weather in art ; Light in art ; Romanticism in art