Landscape Art, Depictions of a Nature That Might Cease to Exist

I’m supposed to talk about pretty landscapes and painters from the 17th century until now that have slowly incorporated said landscapes into their paintings more and more, until finally Landscape became its own genre. And fine: nature is nice; butterflies, yay. Instead, I’d like to note that BP is sponsoring this. BP! The company that is ruining similar landscapes to the ones we’re meant to enjoy in the exhibition. Did the corporation’s discussion for putting this on the agenda include a “yeah, we better show them now before the destruction and decimation of our planet is complete”?

Image
Meindert Hobbema,
The Avenue at Middleharnis, 1689.
Oil on canvas, 103.5 x 141 cm.
The National Gallery, London.

The extraction and ceaseless use of natural gasses and oil is doing palpable and appalling things to the environment and atmosphere. Nevertheless, as an international society, we choose to ignore the annihilation of our ecosystems and extinction of animals so that we can drive Hummers in already over-crowded cities and wear our sweaters in excessively air-conditioned rooms. We live in deserts but have lush, green lawns. We have large, rarely used but immaculately maintained personal swimming pools. We need BP as much as BP needs us and I think it’s time we become less dependent on one another.

Image
Jules Dupré, Sunset after a Storm, 1851.
Oil on wood, 47 x 56.5 cm.
Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s amazing that such a large, well-known corporation is supporting the arts. I live in continual fear that one day I will wake up and society will not be able to provide music/art/drama classes for students and that museums and theatres will close and never open again because the skills will no longer be developed. But does it really have to be BP? Surely this is the most hypocritical exhibition to have ever existed.

Image
J.M.W. Turner, Calais Pier, with French Poissards Preparing for Sea: an English Packet Arriving, 1803.
Oil on canvas, 172 x 240 cm.
The National Gallery, London.

I am argued out. How about you walk or cycle over to the Tate Britain to enjoy breath-taking landscapes in Looking at the View? Rather, sit in your own backyard or a park and read Landscapes by Émile Michel.

-Le Lorrain Andrews

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