My view of the sublime

At first I did not know where to put this article. I felt as though it was more of an art-interpretation considering I was bringing some of the gallery pieces into this conversation, but since this is more about my opinion of the sublime, I decided that this is more a free-form article. I’ve been thinking about the sublime, and what someone sees as sublime since we discussed it in class a few weeks ago. While glancing at some of the readings and photos in class I feel like the Sublime is meant to be these huge mountain landscapes and these wide open valleys, and for some, I am sure it is.

I, on the other hand, am one of the people who have never had the luxury of going to a National Park or anything close to that. When I see these photos of these places I don’t always look at it in the way that I think the artist wants me to perceive it. Normally, I view paintings on a technical level, wondering how the artist achieved the effects they made in the painting. The other paintings I see I feel like are exaggerated. The painting may look amazing, but when I see something that looks like the real place it pales in comparison.

I googled Sublime Landscapes a while back and I received a lot of paintings in response to my search. Some I was amazed by and some that I felt not so much, but what I was really looking for were real places people felt were sublime.

This is one of the landscapes that came up in my search. I suppose the person feels that this is sublime because of the huge mountain view in the background. The view is nice, but I do not get any special feelings of the sublime from just looking at this photo. I feel as though this is one of those “You had to be there” kind of moments to fully appreciate the size of the mountains to get that awe inspiring moment. I wondered if the person who took this photo was actually present in this would I feel differently. Like that one painting by Caspar David Friedrich, “Wanderer Above the Mists”

I can see why this painting would grant the viewer a sense of the sublime because we can see how grand everything is in comparison to the man in it. We are able to see just how great the space around him is and think “wow all of this was made with or without man”

The second photo I came across in my search was completely different. It was a photo taken by someone on the website Deviantart. This person obviously thinks this is a photo worthy of being called sublime. I feel like this is the closest landscape photo to mimicking what we have seen in the art pieces in class.

I started wondering what I liked about this one and I suppose it is the lighting and the perspective. The lighting gives it an ethereal, or a kind of holy look to it. There is no one present in the photo which gives is some kind of privacy and unlike the other ones for me, the lack of the person makes me feel like I’m glancing at this in real life. It looks as though for a moment I am on the same level as these grand hills present in the photo. It reminded me of two paintings we discussed in class.

this one and. . . .

This one.

It reminds me of these because I get that sense of scale, I get the similar lighting, though I feel like one was a view of the mountains and valleys at daylight and the later is at sunset, and I get that feeling of privacy.

I also wanted to take a quick moment to comment on the writing exercise that we did in class where we did talk about our personal experience with the sublime. For me, since I mentioned earlier that I have never been to these amazing landscapes, my experience has mostly been in my front yard early in the morning. In the morning, there is that ideal lighting that I see in a lot of these paintings, and there is also that factor that normally no one is awake yet.

That’s why sometimes it’s harder for me to relate to these paintings because I am one of those people who find the sublime around them instead of on a trip to Yellowstone or Yosemite. In fact, I feel like if I were to go to the parks with all of this talk of them I may even be let down by it haha.

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