The environmental concerns of the postindustrial world to preserve nature’s verdancy are not so distant from the attitudes of artists, intellectuals, and pious members of society in Renaissance Europe. Both within the walls of the city and in the countryside beyond, nature provided inspiration and guidance for contemplation of the divine, even during a period characterized by scholarly ambitions and advances in the natural sciences. Elements of nature—including rocks, trees, flowers, waterways, mountains, and even the atmosphere—could be combined in paintings, drawings, and manuscript illuminations to create expansive landscapes and vistas, which often formed
the setting for a range of texts.
Landscapes are ever-changing yet eternal, and this exhibition explores the genre of landscape painting in works created for personal or communal devotion. The objects in this gallery invite close looking to witness the development of this genre of painting during one of the most fertile periods in the history of art.