The Search For Appropriate Form: The Relationship Between Landscape Architecture And Art In Three Time Periods
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Art and landscape architecture are both a means through which man can explore the natural world around him; they provide an opportunity for self expression and reflection. This thesis is based on the hypothesis that several times throughout history landscape architects and designers have looked to art for inspiration in times of change within the profession and that as that relationship evolved the roles have reversed. In the past landscape architects and designers have looked to art for inspiration, now artists are looking to landscape architects for inspiration and form determination. Three periods of history exemplify this changing relationship: the 1800s, the early 1900s, and the late 1900s. The Claudine landscapes, as depicted in paintings in the eighteen century, were translated into three dimensional forms by the landscape designers of the 1800s looking for inspiration. This was done predominantly because they were not truly designers, but horticulturists wishing to free themselves from the forms and styles employed in traditional, formal design. During the twentieth century, however, landscape architects were formally trained in an academic setting and the shift from the Beaux-Arts tradition to the Modern necessitated a return to art for relevant forms. Unlike the previous period, it was not merely a recreation of landscape paintings; it was more reflective in its nature. Modern landscape architecture strove to marry art, science, and industry with all its infinite possibilities. During the second half of the twentieth century artists and landscape architects, alike, wishing to express the fragility of the natural world began to produce environmental art and land art. Environmental art was the process of constructing large scale art works where viewer participation was encouraged as a means of re-introducing man to nature. Landscape architects were key in the production and installation of environmental art; from their knowledge of the natural world and its processes, to their understanding of the requirements for installation, and their design abilities artists were turning to landscape architects for their expertise. The shifting needs and desires of clients and practitioners, as well as the continued desire to understand the natural world, prompted these shifts within both professions. Though the relationship between art and landscape architecture is continually changing, both fields afford man the opportunity to understand himself within the confines of the world around him.