Painting and Nature Preservation: The Idea of Wildness


In addition to contributing to the preservation of particular places of aesthetic and scientific interest, landscape painting has also promoted the value of wildness and wilderness.

When European setters first arrived in the New World, they regarded wilderness as an enemy of civilization - something to be destroyed and replaced.

Today, thanks to our new aesthetic and scientific understanding of wilderness, wildness has become a matter of national pride, worthy of preservation not just in opposition to civilization, but as a fundamental part of it.

Frederic Edwin Church, Twilight in the Wilderness, 1860, Cleveland Museum of Art