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Tools, Tours and Vistas: Aesthetic Practices of Nature-Landscape in the Late 18th century (completed)

This study will investigate the topographical descriptions of Norwegian nature in the second half of the 18th century. Two forms of description dominate this material: the visual landscape depictions, such as prospects, prints and landscape paintings, and the topographical literature itself.

Soldiers looking at Halden at the other side of the fjord. Painting.

Mathias Blumenthal: Fredrikshald og Fredriksten festning 1748


Using these distinct forms of landscape/nature-descriptions as its vehicle, the study queries the meanings as well as the means of the descriptions:

  • What counted as landscape and what counted as nature, for whom, where and how?
  • And by what means were these landscapes described, represented, and transformed into works of literature and art?
  • One main question to be explored is the relation between scientific practices and theories and the production of Norwegian landscapes.


The project receives financial support from the Norwegian Reserach Council.


Tools, tours and vistas: Aesthetic Practices of Nature-Landscape in the late 18th Century is a subproject of Routes, Roads, and Landscapes: Aesthetic Practices en route, 1750-2015 - a project at Oslo School of Architecture, led by dr. Mari Hvattum. It involves researchers from four institutions. It studies the aestheticization of the modern landscape, i.e. the ways in which the landscape, from the Enlightenment until today came to be construed as an aesthetic object with particular aesthetic values. The vehicle for the investigation is infrastructure: routes, roads, and railways that made their way into the landscape, simultaneously constituting it qua landscape and making it accessible for prac-tical and aesthetical exploitation, reification, and interaction. The scope of the study is twofold. We investigate the ways in which various kinds of routes have shaped modern conceptions of the land-scape by framing it as a view, an aesthetic object, or a place for interaction, and we inquire into the role of the route itself, both as an aesthetic object and as a setting for aesthetic practices.

Published Apr. 13, 2010 2:08 PM - Last modified Apr. 6, 2020 12:34 PM