Alain De Botton On Landscape

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The continual pursuit for real or imagined landscapes is built around an individual’s ontological pursuit for happiness, having implications far beyond the physical with the potential to restore, inspire and transform the soul. Two composers who’s work reflect this notion is Alain De Botton with his philosophical discourses in “The Art of Travel”, which interweaves personal experiences with those of the past to challenge society’s perception of landscapes, and William Mackinnon’s painting “Landscape as self-portrait” which represents landscapes through the sublime. Hence the density of both texts reveal how individuals can find internal happiness through landscapes and how it in turns shapes our perspective on an individual and wider society. …show more content…
De Botton includes the guide, Woodsworth who asserts that we often miss the simple, yet complex minutiae of life, and that he can only achieve happiness by searching for new landscapes; an external landscape that reflects our internal values. Woodsworth proposed that “Nature was an indisputable corrective to the psychological damage inflicted by the city”. The use of his portraits of natural landscapes coupled with poems convey nature as being serene and pure as he romantically describes “Never have I seen such a vision of such magnificence and beauty”. This is juxtaposed with his following line “smoke, congestion, poverty and ugliness”, prompting both the composer and the responders to have a renewed perception of nature. Similarly, in Mackinnon’s painting “Landscape as self-portrait”, a certain level of cleansing is also achieved by displaying the wondrous physicality of nature. He incorporates the melancholic greens and greys to create a reflective atmosphere, and the various textures adds a depth of individuality to the nature of landscapes. With this, the painting acts as a moral allegory. It guides the responder into a mystical desire to be one with nature, and to engage with the art’s ability to subsume through its flamboyant surroundings. Thus, as illustrated by Woodsworth’ appreciation for …show more content…
Thus, by considering different representations of perspectives, it is realised that one’s pursuit for happiness can only be truly achieved through exploring natural landscapes, which facilitate renewed perceptions of ourselves, society and the environment. Although separated by time, both composers depicts the timelessness of nature, which we must all seek to find deeper

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