Fragile Aesthetics: The Problematics Behind Thomas Gainsborough’s Landscape Paintings
By Connor E. Yen – The 17th and 18th centuries saw a wide proliferation of aesthetic discourse through which the picturesque emerged to capture the type of beauty derived from the exchange of in vivo vigor for the spirit of artistic medium. While the metaphysical project of 18th century aesthetic theory masquerades as apolitical, placing Thomas Gainsborough’s landscape paintings in dialogue with picturesque beauty reveals an underlying anxiety of peasant encroachment and class conflict. This paper parses the complex interplay between the “smooth” and the “rough” in Gainsborough&rsquo…
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