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The Place of LandscapeConcepts, Contexts, Studies$
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Jeff Malpas

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015523

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015523.001.0001

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“All foreground without distance”: The Rise of Landscape in Late Medieval Painting

“All foreground without distance”: The Rise of Landscape in Late Medieval Painting

(p.205) 11 “All foreground without distance”: The Rise of Landscape in Late Medieval Painting
The Place of Landscape

Reinhard Steiner

Robert Savage

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the topographical landscape of the fifteenth century and the so-called world landscape of the early sixteenth century as exemplified in Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s frescoes of Good and Bad Government in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. It shows how Lorenzetti’s vision is distinct from the “topocosmos” of the Middle Ages, as shown in the study of the history of the pictorial imagination. In Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy Jacob Burckhardt coined the memorable phrase “all foreground without distance” that applies to the visual conventions used to represent nature and landscape in the pictorial arts of the Middle Ages. However, there can be no landscape without a horizon in the distance; therefore, the discovery of perspective becomes the sole criterion for the development of landscape painting.

Keywords:   topographical landscape, world landscape, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Palazzo Pubblico, topocosmos, pictorial imagination, Jacob Burckhardt, perspective, landscape painting

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