Works of landscape art represent more than a passive view of the physical environment. Just as characteristics of the land itself influence land use, so do the cultures of the people living in a place. In turn, the interrelationship of people and their land influences what an artist portrays in depicting a landscape.
Works of landscape art represent more than a passive view of the physical environment. Just as characteristics of the land itself influence land use, so do the cultures of the people living in a place. In turn, the interrelationship of people and their land influences what an artist portrays in depicting a landscape.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

1) Sketch a self-portrait using elements from the local landscape. Explain why those elements were included and what the sketch reveals about your relationship with your surroundings.

2) Select an image in Panoramas: North American Landscape in Art. Create a travel brochure for the location represented in the image.

3) Research the people living in your region, identifying their languages, religions, and cultures. Select objects for a time capsule that would reveal aspects of these people to later generations.

1) Sketch a self-portrait using elements from the local landscape. Explain why those elements were included and what the sketch reveals about your relationship with your surroundings.

2) Select an image in Panoramas: North American Landscape in Art. Create a travel brochure for the location represented in the image.

3) Research the people living in your region, identifying their languages, religions, and cultures. Select objects for a time capsule that would reveal aspects of these people to later generations.


© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

Canal de Tláhuac con el Iztaccíhuatl al fondo

Canal de Tláhuac con el Iztaccíhuatl al fondo (The Tlahuac Canal with the Iztaccihuatl Volcano in the Distance)

Hugo Brehme (1882 - 1954)
Sistema Nacional de Fototecas del INAH. Fototeca de Pachuca
1910 - 1920
MEXICO
photograph on paper
21.00 X 15.00 cm
© Sistema Nacional de Fototecas del INAH. Fototeca de Pachuca


The afternoon light revealed through the shadow of the young oarsman serves as a pretext for bringing together in a single scene a number of defining elements of the countryside around the Valley of Mexico, which are: the archetypal, white-clad aboriginal person, the Tlahuac canal, the snowy slopes of Iztaccihuatl, and the Mexican willow trees typical of the canals in the south of the city. The depiction of these elements and their elevation to mythical status sprang from the need, in the years following the Revolution, to struggle against the established paradigm, that of Western culture. Mexican identity was thus forged in images which later degenerated into banal stereotypes.
The afternoon light revealed through the shadow of the young oarsman serves as a pretext for bringing together in a single scene a number of defining elements of the countryside around the Valley of Mexico, which are: the archetypal, white-clad aboriginal person, the Tlahuac canal, the snowy slopes of Iztaccihuatl, and the Mexican willow trees typical of the canals in the south of the city. The depiction of these elements and their elevation to mythical status sprang from the need, in the years following the Revolution, to struggle against the established paradigm, that of Western culture. Mexican identity was thus forged in images which later degenerated into banal stereotypes.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

Campesinos

Campesinos (Peasants)

David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896 - 1974)
Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA. Donación Patronato of the Museo Nacional de Arte, A.C.,1993
c. 1913
MEXICO
pastel sketch on paper
© Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA


Campesinos embodies the innovating techniques proposed in the teaching methods of the National Academy of Fine Arts at the beginning of the 20th century. As part of painters' artistic training, Alfredo Ramos Martínez established the first Open-Air School of Painting which allowed students, albeit somewhat belatedly, to more freely explore Impressionist and post-Impressionist innovations in form, theme and technique. The works painted there moved visibly away from the teachings of the master, José María Velasco. Free, rapid brush strokes and a luminous palette characterized the students' work. Campesinos is one of David Alfaro Siqueiros' earliest known works as a student at the Academy
Campesinos embodies the innovating techniques proposed in the teaching methods of the National Academy of Fine Arts at the beginning of the 20th century. As part of painters' artistic training, Alfredo Ramos Martínez established the first Open-Air School of Painting which allowed students, albeit somewhat belatedly, to more freely explore Impressionist and post-Impressionist innovations in form, theme and technique. The works painted there moved visibly away from the teachings of the master, José María Velasco. Free, rapid brush strokes and a luminous palette characterized the students' work. Campesinos is one of David Alfaro Siqueiros' earliest known works as a student at the Academy

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

Untitled

Untitled

Christian N. Frey (1886 - 1950)
Canadian Museum of Civilization
1905 - 1920
CANADA
oil on canvas
35.00 X 61.50 cm
© Canadian Museum of Civilization


Canadians are proud of the fact that law and order travelled in advance of white settlement of the Canadian West. From 1873, as pioneers arrived, they found scarlet-coated contingents of what was called the North West Mounted Police, who mediated conflicts and kept the peace. Renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1919, the “Mounties” have become a symbol of Canada. Whatever story is being told in the above painting, the nationality of the figure at the right—and therefore the scene’s locale—is clear to any viewer in the modern world.
Canadians are proud of the fact that law and order travelled in advance of white settlement of the Canadian West. From 1873, as pioneers arrived, they found scarlet-coated contingents of what was called the North West Mounted Police, who mediated conflicts and kept the peace. Renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1919, the “Mounties” have become a symbol of Canada. Whatever story is being told in the above painting, the nationality of the figure at the right—and therefore the scene’s locale—is clear to any viewer in the modern world.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

Untitled

Untitled

Elizabeth Angrnatquak (1938 - )
Canadian Museum of Civilization
c. 1970
CANADA
wool and cotton
© Canadian Museum of Civilization


Not all the features that imprint upon a landscape the identity of those who live there are physical. Some are present at another level of existence entirely. In Inuit tradition, the spirits of the dead that haven't been given renewed life in an infant named for them wander the earth bringing sickness and death. Ever at hand, their terrifying influence must be warded off by the living's strict adherence to behavioural taboos. These lost souls, as real as buildings or people or animals, are frequently depicted in Inuit art as two-headed creatures, often with long claws and woeful expressions.
Not all the features that imprint upon a landscape the identity of those who live there are physical. Some are present at another level of existence entirely. In Inuit tradition, the spirits of the dead that haven't been given renewed life in an infant named for them wander the earth bringing sickness and death. Ever at hand, their terrifying influence must be warded off by the living's strict adherence to behavioural taboos. These lost souls, as real as buildings or people or animals, are frequently depicted in Inuit art as two-headed creatures, often with long claws and woeful expressions.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

Untitled

Untitled

Unknown
Canadian Museum of Civilization
1840 - 1870
CANADA
oil on canvas
© Canadian Museum of Civilization


Just as features of the natural landscape—vegetation, geology, contour—can identify a geographical location, so too, aspects of landscape shaped by the human hand—architecture, land division, agricultural usage—can communicate who lives there. One of the ways the French Catholic population of Quebec has imprinted its identity and religious heritage upon their landscape is the croix de chemin—the roadside cross. There are some 3000 of these symbols of devotion, plain and fancy, of all materials, dotting the Quebec countryside. Many are capped with a rooster statuette, a symbol both of Christianity (St. Peter) and France.
Just as features of the natural landscape—vegetation, geology, contour—can identify a geographical location, so too, aspects of landscape shaped by the human hand—architecture, land division, agricultural usage—can communicate who lives there. One of the ways the French Catholic population of Quebec has imprinted its identity and religious heritage upon their landscape is the croix de chemin—the roadside cross. There are some 3000 of these symbols of devotion, plain and fancy, of all materials, dotting the Quebec countryside. Many are capped with a rooster statuette, a symbol both of Christianity (St. Peter) and France.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

India Oaxaqueña

India Oaxaqueña

Ramón Cano Manilla (1886 - 1974)
Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA
1928
MEXICO
oil on canvas
© Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA


Surrounded by luxurious vegetation and in complete harmony with nature, Ramón Cano Manilla paints this rigid, monumental effigy of an aboriginal woman who proudly wears her ornate huipil, embroidered with vegetable and animal motifs emphasizing her idyllic association with her natural surroundings. Although the theme is devoid of narrative meaning, the representational style of India Oaxaqueña is still closely bound up with the "nationalistic" idea of exalting and idealizing the figure of the "Indian" and in viewing indigenous people as the depositories of an intuitive sense. In 1928 this painting earned the painter the gold medal at the Ibero-American exhibition in Seville. By that time a popular and indigenous iconography had been established as synonymous with national art.
Surrounded by luxurious vegetation and in complete harmony with nature, Ramón Cano Manilla paints this rigid, monumental effigy of an aboriginal woman who proudly wears her ornate huipil, embroidered with vegetable and animal motifs emphasizing her idyllic association with her natural surroundings. Although the theme is devoid of narrative meaning, the representational style of India Oaxaqueña is still closely bound up with the "nationalistic" idea of exalting and idealizing the figure of the "Indian" and in viewing indigenous people as the depositories of an intuitive sense. In 1928 this painting earned the painter the gold medal at the Ibero-American exhibition in Seville. By that time a popular and indigenous iconography had been established as synonymous with national art.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

La chasse-galerie

La chasse-galerie

Fernand Thifault (? - ?)
Canadian Museum of Civilization
c. 1977
CANADA
house paint on canvas
© Canadian Museum of Civilization


The "chasse galerie" is a traditional Quebec tale—and artist’s subject—whose crux is landscape. A logging crew working in the woods long to go home to celebrate New Year’s Eve. They make a pact with the Devil for a round trip in a flying canoe. On their return, one of the men breaks the spell by touching the crucifix on one of the village church steeples they fly over. The canoe crashes into the trees. The artist here has personalized his depiction of the narrative and its eerie landscape by giving the figures the faces of people in his community.
The "chasse galerie" is a traditional Quebec tale—and artist’s subject—whose crux is landscape. A logging crew working in the woods long to go home to celebrate New Year’s Eve. They make a pact with the Devil for a round trip in a flying canoe. On their return, one of the men breaks the spell by touching the crucifix on one of the village church steeples they fly over. The canoe crashes into the trees. The artist here has personalized his depiction of the narrative and its eerie landscape by giving the figures the faces of people in his community.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

In the Spring

In the Spring

Grant Wood (1891 - 1942)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Frank McClure
1939
UNITED STATES
lithograph on paper
22.80 X 30.40 cm
© Smithsonian American Art Museum


After several years of study in Europe, Grant Wood returned to his native Iowa to create art that celebrated the Midwest. He applied his exceptional talent for simplification and design to make these plowed fields and tidy farmhouses reflect the order and harmony Wood discovered on his return to the U.S. heartland.
After several years of study in Europe, Grant Wood returned to his native Iowa to create art that celebrated the Midwest. He applied his exceptional talent for simplification and design to make these plowed fields and tidy farmhouses reflect the order and harmony Wood discovered on his return to the U.S. heartland.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Understand and recognize that art reflects the history and culture in which it was created
  • Be conscious of the emotional impact that is caused and shaped by a work of art
  • Glean information about time, place, and humanity from studying a work of art
  • Compare and contrast landscape art among North American countries

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