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Poetic landscapes

A long tradition in European painting, poetic landscapes as a genre can be perceived as complex. Often credited with elevating the status of watercolor paintings, the poetic landscape presents the viewer with an imaginary setting. In one sense, the artist is given free rein to depict mythical fantasy upon the geography of the landscape— slotting Roman architecture ruins amongst mountain landscapes where there weren't any, for instance. By idealizing and tweaking the subject, artists like Richard Wilson redesigned buildings and exaggerated geographic features to counter the more banal topographical records of the landscape. 

As noted by author W.G. Leszl, this genre is based on the idea from the aesthetic theory in the Poetics of Aristotle in that the actual is imperfect whilst the idealized (because it embodies harmonious proportions and can be used to express elevated moral ideas) is the proper subject of art. Today, as the relationship between the landscape and those that inhabit it becomes more and more strained, artists such as Salvatore Mangione (Salvo) and Nick Vivian depict the landscape in its most simplistic form – to remind us of the source for our existence.

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