Landscape Painting and the Forest – The Influence of Cultural Factors in the Depiction of Trees and Forests

  • Dainis Dauksta
Part of the World Forests book series (WFSE, volume 9)


Painting and silviculture both involve the actions of circumscription, composition and management of light. Foresters and painters work within bounded spaces and are influenced by philosophical, political and religious ideology, their products change with fluxing societal expectations and may be imbued with metaphor and mythology. Paintings of trees or forest landscapes include religious, poetic, symbolic, historical and factual themes. They can be complex, multi-layered and difficult to interpret as are physical landscapes. Although there is a modern tendency to assume that appreciation of nature’s beauty is normal and perhaps even spiritually uplifting, depiction of landscape for its own sake was unthinkable until the time of the Renaissance. Rendition of earthly life was considered sinful. Utilitarian images of trees first appeared in symbolic landscape paintings in order to illustrate religious narratives. Development of perspective allowed painters to place nature upon a diminishing grid, demonstrating the underlying mathematical harmony with which God had endowed his creation and the camera obscura assisted painters to develop realistic renditions. Early Romantic painters used landscape as a reaction to rational, scientific culture and during the 20th century Romanticism influenced new generations of painters to explore transcendental themes. The wheel turned full circle as painters returned to symbolism within landscape.


Landscape Painting Sacred Grove Symbolic Content Modern Landscape Camera Obscura 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V.  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cefn CochPowysUK

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