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Geography of the Gaze

Urban and Rural Vision in Early Modern Europe

Geography of the Gaze offers a new history and theory of how the way we look at things influences what we see. Focusing on Western Europe from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, Renzo Dubbini shows how developments in science, art, mapping, and visual epistemology affected the ways natural and artificial landscapes were perceived and portrayed.

He begins with the idea of the "view," explaining its role in the invention of landscape painting and in the definition of landscape as a cultural space. Among other topics, Dubbini explores how the descriptive and pictorial techniques used in mariners’ charts, view-oriented atlases, military cartography, and garden design were linked to the proliferation of highly realistic paintings of landscapes and city scenes; how the "picturesque" system for defining and composing landscapes affected not just art but also archaeology and engineering; and how the ever-changing modern cityscapes inspired new ways of seeing and representing the urban scene in Impressionist painting, photography, and stereoscopy. A marvelous history of viewing, Geography of the Gaze will interest everyone from scientists to artists.

272 pages | 102 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2002

Art: European Art

Geography: Cultural and Historical Geography

History: European History


“[Dubbini aims] to explore how technological advances in science, art, mapping and visual epistemology from the 17th to the 19th centuries affects the way the landscape was perceived and what it might be expected to tell us through mariner’s charts, atlases, military cartography and views from garden design.”--<I>Art Newspaper

Art Newspaper

Praise for the Italian edition:

            "Brilliant and inspiring. . . . We go from the natural to the artificial scene, from map-making to landscape painting, from travelers’ tales to geological exploration, from the discovery of the Alps to the discoveries of ancient Egypt, from the microcosm of the garden to the metropolis, from journeys by carriage to those by rail or even in balloons."

Enrico Castelnuovo | Il Sole

"A valuable study of the connection existing between vision and the history of landscape at the outset of the modern age via those unique kinds of spatial documents, such as landscape paintings, photographs of places, city maps and plans."

Marco Belpoliti | Il Manifesto

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Chapter 1. The World Described
1. Recognizability
2. The Dutch Scene
3. The Atlas
4. The Landscape of War
5. Garden Topography
Chapter 2. The City Reflected
1. The Physiognomy of the City
2. The Mechanics of Analogy
3. River Views
4. Rivers and Cities
5. Guides and Panoramas
Chapter 3. Nature and Antiquity
1. The Natural Archetype
2. Ambience and Representation
3. Ancient Sites
Chapter 4. Light and Motion
1. The Power of Optics
2. The Theatrical Image
3. The Diorama
4. Dioramas and a Sense of History
Chapter 5. The Picturesque Voyage
1. The Composition of Place
2. The Search for the Characteristics of the Place
3. Landscapes and National Monuments
4. Histories of Buildings
Chapter 6. Images of a World in Transformation
1. Flow
2. Speed
3. Meteorology and Vision
4. The Marine Frontier
Chapter 7. Gazing at the Metropolis
1. Loss of Horizon
2. The Throng
3. The Photographic Eye
4. Stereoscopy

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