Proportion is not the cause of beauty in Vegetables (Burke)… but it may have something to do with these photographs…


Icy Limbs
Icy Limbs

I thought this tree was picturesque because of the angles of the limbs, the polished surface of the ice against the more ragged form of the tree. 




I think this image is beautiful because the path guides my eye through the image, it is restful, smooth snow, etc. I think the quality of repose is evident here.


Large Tree

Large Tree

This image is beautiful or maybe picturesque. I think possibly beautiful because of the symmetry, the smooth snow, and the footpath to the tree which is a clean way in and out of the image. I think it may be picturesque because of the juxtaposition of angular tree limbs and rugged vs. smooth trees (evergreens vs. deciduous). 


Berries and Bird's nest...

Berries and Bird's nest...

And finally I think this photo is beautiful because of the subject, the rounded shapes of the berries, the reddish colour of the berries, the faint blue in the sky, (even though more colour would be more convincing this was solid for the type of light today) and the patterns which are pleasing to the eye … I feel I have an innate set of perceptions for approaching this image.


2 responses to “Proportion is not the cause of beauty in Vegetables (Burke)… but it may have something to do with these photographs…

  1. Forgot to sign this. Its mine.

  2. Wow Jen, I love the slippage between the beautiful and the picturesque inherent to your images. Each of them has me struggling between classifications.

    (I have to say, too, that your “Narnia” picture is the most attractive image I’ve seen yet. Could easily be a postcard).

    However, I’m wondering how we differentiate between the beautiful and the picturesque when it comes to more common scenes of nature. Nature is rarely uniform and smooth, and rarely untouched by age or weather. Yet, as your comments prove, we often call such scenes “beautiful.”

    Price’s description of the picturesque as representing “qualities of roughness, and variation, joined to that of irregularity” could easily be used to describe nearly any forest scene. And his argument that the picturesque “takes off from the uniformity of surface and of colour…gives a degree of roughness, and a variety of tint” similarly reminds me of the contrasting qualities (i.e. age, color, texture, height, width, etc.) of forest trees.

    Yet I also agree with you that our emotional response to tranquil forest scenes certainly suggests they are beautiful.

    Price goes on to state that “amongst trees, it is not the smooth young beech nor the fresh and tender ash, but the rugged old oak or knotty wych elm that are picturesque.” It looks like the middle-aged tree has no correct label in our current lexicon. :(

    Perhaps the best we can do is simply label them as representative of “Picturesque Beauty”?
    (cue Price rolling over in his grave). ;)

    Good stuff though. Great food for thought.


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