Unit 5.2 Discussion Forum (Art History)(Enlightenment)

Let’s talk about landscape paintings!  We’ve seen more and more popping up in our image presentations, most of all in this Unit.  In order to understand the impact of landscape paintings, we need to explore their purpose: why were they made?  Let’s each pick one landscape from our image presentations, or an image with a landscape in the background, from this Unit or from others, and let’s explore how each one can evoke different emotional reactions.


Unit 5: Enlightenment

Age of Enlightenment painting

The start of the 18th century in Western civilizations is marked with the Industrial Revolution, as well as the Revolutions fought in the United States and France for political freedoms.  The Age of Enlightenment takes a dramatic turn in philosophy, scientific approach, and the pursuit of intellectual rationalities over religious superstition, declaring society’s role as protector of human rights against the tyrants of royalty, industrialism, and religious absolutes.


  • Investigate how new advances in societal structures (such as democracy, industry and logic) placed artistic focus on rational order and thought, and discover how the artwork illustrates the desire to control the forces of nature.
  • Distinguish tendencies of the Neoclassical artistic movement from that of the late Baroque, and see how the trend of creating art to glorify the privileged and the elite was replaced with a more logical approach to images representing modern ways of thinking.
  • Compare logistic order of the Neoclassicists to emotional intuition of the Romantics.
  • Explore power in the art created as a reaction to the ugliness of war, a societal virus that spread throughout Europe after the Revolutions for freedoms failed to reform.
  • Discover masterpieces emerging from the New World, where American artists were using the idealized landscape as the language to express freedom, emotion, and earthly beauty akin to Eden.

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